Ava Gardner Festival pays tribute to Sinatra

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 19, 2011

SMITHFIELD — For the first time since its inception, the Ava Gardner Festival will pay tribute to Frank Sinatra, the man Ava declared as the “love of her life.”
This year’s festival will open on Friday evening, Oct. 7 with a cake and champagne reception and will continue through Sunday, Oct. 9. Festivities on Saturday include the new Frank and Ava exhibits, heritage tours, and screenings of classic Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner films at Smithfield Cinema 10.
“Frank Sinatra would risk everything to love Ava Gardner during a time in his life he struggled with his career,” said Donna Bailey-Taylor, museum board member. “It was not an easy relationship and ultimately it would crumble under the pressure from the press, the studios, and their own jealousy. But the fascination of their lives, love and their friendship continues to be written about over 50 years later, and the museum is thrilled to open this new exhibit at the 2011 festival.”
At the reception on Friday, the museum will unveil its newest exhibit, Frank & Ava: Their Lives, Love and Friendship, as well as a newly designed main gallery exhibit. Tickets to the reception are $25 per person and guests will be treated to a one-of-a-kind cake from Carlo’s Bakery, A.K.A. The Cake Boss, all the way from Hoboken, NJ, Frank’s hometown.
On Saturday, heritage tours will be scheduled throughout the day. Visitors will be given a guided tour of points of interest in Ava’s hometown.Heritage tour passes are $12 per person. All-day admission to the museum on Saturday and Sunday will be $7 for everyone.
During the festival, classic Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra films will be shown at the Smithfield Cinema 10, including, tentatively, “From Here to Eternity,” “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Pal Joey.” Films will run Friday night through Sunday, and movie goers will receive a festival gift bag with museum admission passes valid for six months.
The 5th Annual Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival, separate from the museum activities, will run concurrently with museum events. For more information about the 5th Annual Ava Gardner Independent Film Festival, please call Chris Johnson, Executive Director of the Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation, at 919-934-0887.
The Ava Gardner Museum is located in downtown Smithfield, at 325 E. Market Street. More information may be found on the museum website, www.avagardner.org or please call directly to purchase advance tickets, 919-934-5830. The museum is open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm and Sunday 2pm-5pm with admission of $7 adults, $6 seniors, military, teens and groups, and $5 children 6 to 12.