Riley Festival

Riley (James Whitcomb) Festival

Begins first Thursday in October
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), a poet best known for his nostalgic dialect verse, is honored in his hometown of Greenfield, Indiana, with a three-day festival held around his birthday on October 7 each year. Most of the events are held near the Riley Birthplace Museum, the house where the poet spent his childhood, although there are poetry contests, programs in the local schools, and parades through the streets of downtown Greenfield as well.
The festival was started in 1911 by Minnie Belle Mitchell, an author who wanted schools and literary clubs to observe the poet's birthday. The governor of Indiana proclaimed October 7 as Riley Day soon afterward, and Riley attended the celebration in 1912, finding himself smothered in bouquets of flowers as his car paraded down the street.
Today Riley is best remembered for such poems as "When the Frost is on the Punkin," "The Raggedy Man," and "Little Orphan Annie," which later inspired both the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls as well as the Orphan Annie comic strip, which was successfully brought to Broadway as the musical Annie .
Riley Festival
312 E. Main St., Ste. C
Greenfield, IN 46140
317-462-2141; fax: 317-467-1449
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 694
GdUSFest-1984, p. 51
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Riley Museum may have grown musty but the Hoosier poet's name remains fixed to parks and commercial buildings and the annual Riley festival is a welcome boost to the local economy, which has been ailing of late.