-Spoon River Reads Selects Thornton Wilder's Our Town

The Spoon River Reads selection for 2012 is Our Town, the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder.  The popular fall program, now in its sixth year, is sponsored by the Spoon River College Foundation, Parlin-Ingersoll Public Library, MidAmerica National Bank, and several other regional sponsors.  The 2012 Spoon River Reads program, Our Towns: The Spoon River Way, runs from August 30 through October 30.  
Jenny Beal and Carol Blackfelner are again serving as co-coordinators of Spoon River Reads and have already developed a stimulating calendar of events, which continues to grow as new partners sign on.  Wilder’s Our Town is a great addition to past literary works promoted by the community-wide reading program. 
“Each year The Spoon River Reads committee reviews a list of works researched by the National Endowment for the Arts and makes a selection based on community relevancy, local interest, and universal appeal,” Carol Blackfelner said.  “In previous years, we have selected the classics To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, The Poems & Stories of Edgar Allan Poe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and My Antonia.  This year we feature Wilder’s award-winning drama which offers  unique opportunities for a wide variety of associated activities.”
Our Town, often heralded as the great American drama, depicts life in a mythical village in New Hampshire from 1901-1913.  It has become an American classic with universal appeal.  “Our Town” is Anytown, USA.  Wilder himself said that the play “is not offered as a picture of life in a New Hampshire village; or as a speculation about conditions of life after death…It is an attempt to find a value above all price for the smallest events of our daily life.”  Its themes are still relevant today.
Many activities and events celebrating Our Town are already scheduled throughout the Spoon River College district.  SPOON RIVER READS will hold its annual Kick-Off dinner on Thursday, August 30 at Kemper Banquet Hall, featuring Ken Bradbury, regionally-acclaimed novelist, humorist, playwright, and musician.   
Many favorite community Read activities, such as the Graveyard Walk, the WBYS Radio Read each weekday in October, the Tea Ladies at Parlin Ingersoll Library, and a movie matinee at Dickson Mounds, return in 2012.  Activities new for 2012 include a Fulton County Playhouse production of OUR TOWN, special events specifically developed for students and kids at Dickson Mounds, a Candlelight Historic Architectural Walk in Canton, and genealogy and watercolor classes. 
Brochures outlining all public events associated with the play are available by calling (309) 647-6260 or click here to download it now. 
“We hope everyone will consider reading Our Town and attending one or more of the activities associated with the Read,” Jenny Beal said.  “It never ceases to amaze us how engaged ‘our towns’ becomes through a love of reading.  We appreciate our sponsors, our collaborators, and our community members for supporting the Read year after year.”
MidAmerica National Bank and Parlin Ingersoll Public Library have purchased copies of the play for free distribution to schools and other agencies.  Many area schools have included class readings of Our Town into their fall curricula and some have added special events and art projects as part of the Read.
"We welcome others to add events or activities as part of the program this year,” Carol Davis, Vice President of Community Outreach stated.  “Spoon River College promotes the power of reading and we eagerly anticipate the start of this program every year.”
For more information or to participate in Spoon River Reads, contact Carol Davis at 309) 647-6395 or carol.davis@src.edu.