Chemung County Celebrates Mark Twain in 2010

The year 2010 will mark the 175th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), the Centennial of his death, and the 125th anniversary of the release of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Elmira, New York, also known as Mark Twain Country, will be celebrating his life with a year of Twain themed events and special promotions. During this celebration year of Twain, one thousand copies of Twain’s iconic American novel will be distributed, courtesy of the Community Foundation.

The following events will take place from April 21, the death date, through April 24, the day he was laid to rest at Elmira’s Woodlawn Cemetery:

* Wednesday, April 21, (Death Centennial) Hal Holbrook to perform his Emmy & Tony award-winning performance of Mark Twain Tonight at Clemens Center for the Performing Arts.

* Saturday, April 24, Re-enactment of Twain’s gravesite service and burial at Woodlawn Cemetery. The event will use details provided by articles from the New York Post and New York Times along with other historical sources, and will include a horse drawn carriage transporting the casket.

* Wednesday, April 21 – Saturday, April 24, Trolley into Twain Country Tours Centennial Excursions, One hour guided tours that will include a stop to go inside the Mark Twain Study (where Twain penned such classics as Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn while summering in Elmira with his in-laws for 22 years) and the Clemens family burial site at Woodlawn Cemetery.

* Wednesday, April 21 – Friday, April 23, Dine like Twain dinners to be offered at Hill Top Restaurant. Feast on Twain’s favorite foods while overlooking the exact same view of the Chemung River Valley that inspired him while writing his classics.

* April 22 & 24, Twain Notes, A theatrical reading of the personal correspondence of Samuel Clemens and those closest to him. Held at The Park Church, of which Twain was a member.

* Saturday April 24, Tom Sawyer & Becky Thatcher Day at Harris Hill, Harris Hill, the Soaring Capital of America, welcomes Twain enthusiasts to take a glider ride over Mark Twain Country and view the Twain Exhibit at the National Soaring Museum, or join in a Tom Sawyer & Becky Thatcher in a game of putt-putt at Harris Hill Amusement Park.

Other events during in Mark Twain Country during 2010 include scenic glider, vintage plane and helicopter rides over the spectacular views that inspired the author- the dedication of a Twain hiking trail overlooking the Chemung River and complete with Twain quotes- Trolley into Twain Country Tours throughout July and August, the release of a commemorative Twain-labeled Riesling from award-winning Glenora Wine Cellars, and more. Visitors are also encouraged to pay their respects to this American Classic at Woodlawn Cemetery, enjoy a tour of the Mark Twain Study, or visit the permanent display a the Chemung Valley History Museum. A complete calendar of events can be found at www.MarkTwainCountry.com//Twain2010.asp.

For more details on this event or Twain-themed events throughout the year, visit www.MarkTwainCountry.com or contact Cynthia Raj at the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce at cynthia@chemungchamber.org or 800.627.5892.

Illustration: Commemorative Mark Twain poster designed by Finger Lakes artist Brandi Smith.

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