Here’s another fine mess to get in to: the festival that puts Harlem, Georgia on the map every year – the Oliver Hardy festival. The famous comedian was born in Harlem and this festival is to honor him and his well appreciated comedic work.
Martin Taylor at the Harlem Visitors Center says, “We celebrate Oliver Hardy being from Harlem, we celebrate him and then we get a chance to get all kinds of food and entertainment. So yeah it’s really a good time for Harlem. “
The morning started off with a parade of bands, old cars, and hardy look-alikes.
Guests enjoyed the 4 blocks filled with vendors, food trucks, and activities. Many come back every year for the hardy festivities.
“I probably been a dozen times… I love this museum, it tells the history of Oliver Hardy,” said Daniel Harrell.
At the heart of it all is the Harlem Visitors Center, better known as the Hardy Museum.
Gary Oliver Russeth, the Grand Sheik for the Harlem tent of Sons of the Desert Volunteers his time at the Harlem museum throughout the year. After retirement, Russeth started to build wooden cars and quickly decided to used his love for hardy in his work. Many pieces that sit in the museum today are Russeth’s creations.
“The little dancing Laurel and Hardy guys are retired Santa Clauses, I made new heads for them and turned them into Laurel and Hardy, but basically, everything you see is made of wood,” said Russeth.
Russeth added that his favorite part of this event is simple – it’s the people.
Phillip Jones, or Stan Laurel for the day, and Little Ollie agree that the visitors are what make this event.
“They come to really support Laurel and Hardy, but as we try to do the look alike to give them honor, the people come out and just have a good time.” said Jones.
Little Ollie replied, “They’re coming to see me. I’m here and I’m glad to see them.”