OSWEGO – The beloved children’s book character Madeline and her real-life connection to Oswego will be celebrated June 2 during the “Madeline in Oswego: Bemelmans’ Festival” at Fort Ontario.
Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the popular children’s books about the little girl named Madeline, served as a private in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Ontario in 1917. At the time, Fort Ontario was the largest Army hospital installation in the United States.
The 19-year-old Bemelmans served as an orderly in hospital units and at other locations around the fort.
He wrote a memoir about his time in Oswego, “My War with the United States,” in 1937 and published his first Madeline book in 1939.
“The festival will celebrate the Madeline books with crafts, children’s games, book readings, a children’s parade, and performances of ‘Madeline and the Gypsies,’ an original skit written by Oswego playwright Rick Sivers,” said Mary Kay Stone, organizing committee chair.
The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Fort Ontario grounds and at the nearby Art Association of Oswego at the end of East Fourth Street.
Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite Madeline character for the children’s parade at 1 p.m. Sponsored by the Children’s Museum of Oswego, the parade will be followed by an ice cream social inside the fort.
The art association will offer kite-making, Madeline hat decorating and crafts with carnival animals.
Weather permitting, members of the New York Kite Enthusiasts will fly their colorful and unique kites in the skies over Fort Ontario.
There will be free admission to the fort, sponsored by Friends of Fort Ontario. Food concessions will be available.
Artists of all ages are invited to submit artwork depicting a Madeline book character in an Oswego County location for the “Madeline in Oswego Art Show.”
Artwork will be displayed in the Art Association gallery from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 1 through 3.
Artwork should be no larger than 16 by 20 inches and mounted on poster board no larger than 18 by 24 inches.
Entries will be accepted at the Art Association May 19 from 10 a.m. to noon, and May 20, from 1 to 2 p.m.
For information about the art show, contact Laurie Kester at 315-343-6599.
For information about the festival, call Fort Ontario State Historic Site at 315-343-4711 or visit http://historicfortontario.com/event/bemelmans-festival/
For Oswego County visitor information, call 1-800-248-4386 (1-800-248-4FUN) or go to www.visitoswegocounty.com