LUMBERTON — Last year author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1929 classic American novel “The Great Gatsby” was given the Hollywood treatment by director Baz Luhrmann, however it was far from the first adaptation of the beloved story, and come Friday organizers of Lumberton’s upcoming arts festival The Great Getaway are hoping to shed some light on Gatsby’s hidden past.
In 1974, the same year Luhrmann’s Gatsby, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, was born, Robert Redford performed in the title role of Jay Gatsby to critical acclaim, and now organizers for April’s Gatsby-inspired arts festival want to bring the movie back to the silver screen for Lumberton residents by hosting a 7 p.m. showing of the Academy Award-winning film at the Carolina Civic Center on North Chestnut Street.
“We [already] had an ongoing classic film series and this was an opportunity to fit that in,” said Richard Sceiford, executive director for the Civic Center. “It’s an amazing movie.”
The film, which tells the story of a mysterious 1920s era socialite with a secretive past, will serve as a precursor for the Arts Council’s upcoming Great Getaway arts festival, which will run April 6 through April 12. Tickets for the film will be $5
It may seem unusual for organizers to screen the film so far ahead of the festival’s official kick off, however Arts Council President Mary Ann Masters insists that the planning was purposeful.
“There’s a method in our madness,” Masters said. “We want people to get in the mood and to be inspired by the attire of the era, so that they can start planning their costumes for our gala.”
The festival will begin on April 6 with a flower show, which will run until the end of the festival. Then on April 8 the Southeastern Hospice will host its spring event at the Pinecrest Country Club, on April 10 the Robeson Humane Society will hold a golf tournament, and on April 10 and April 11, Purple Door Productions will be providing two nights of dinner theater, featuring jazz music and dance at Candy Sue’s downtown restaurant. Finally, on April 12, downtown Lumberton will play host to multiple activities, including an exhibition of rare vintage autos, a pet parade — with pets dressed in Gatsby-era fashions — and a showing of a 1941 video of Lumberton at the Carolina Civic Center will be on display throughout the day. The event will all culminate with the aforementioned gala, which will have a speakeasy theme and take place at downtown Lumberton’s Candy Sue’s the evening of April 12.
Also, as part of the Great Getaway festival, there will be a juried art exhibit April 7 through April 13 at the Lumberton Art Space on Chestnut Street. Artists who wish to have their art exhibited must pay a $25 entry fee, and send in an online submission by March 20 via the thegreatgetaway.slideroom.com.
“We have talented artists and wonderful facilities and a truly beautiful downtown,” Masters said. “We want to promote everything, and by promoting the arts you do promote everything.”