By Laura Weyman, Photo Editor
In celebration of Flannery O’Connor’s 93rd birthday, the people of Savannah gathered in Lafayette Square on Sunday Mar. 25, to commemorate the respected southern writer with a parade and street fair “in true Flannery fashion”.
As Cody Shelley, the foundation manager of Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home and Museum stated, “We are out here in the square celebrating her in very true Flannery fashion with costumes and signs and flare.” Signs with O’Connor portraits and quotes, such as, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it” filled the square.
This yearly celebration has been taking place for six years now to honor O’Connor’s time spent in Savannah.
When discussing the event Shelley said, “we very much are here to honor her childhood,” she continued, “it’s really the story about how she gets to become the very southern Catholic that she is.”
According to the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home’s website, Catholicism was indeed a big part of the authors life. She spent her years on earth collecting books on Catholic Theology and even gave lectures on faith despite her dwindling health caused by Lupus.
The celebration took place right outside of the famous southern author’s childhood home, where she spent the first 13 years of her life. The museum that is O’Connor’s old home, waived the six-dollar fee for all visitors on this special day and let them wander around inside the stone Victorian house.
The Sweet Thunder Strolling Band, comprised of various local musicians, serenaded the attendees in front of the iconic O’Connor emblem, a giant peacock-painted sign. They ended their set by wandering out of the square while playing a rendition of Alison Krauss’ “I’ll Fly Away.”
Lead singer of the band, Anna Chandler, led the way and sang out the lyrics inside a megaphone speaker. All the spectators followed the musicians around the square as they wandered up and across Abercorn and Charlton Street to eventually make their way back to the peacock sign, ending their energetic set.
Local vendors sold a variety of merchandise such as candles and books. The event even gave a chance for participants to take part in chicken bingo. This seemed like an appropriate game considering O’Connor’s affinity for birds like chickens and peacocks.
According to the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home website, when she was 5-years-old, O’Connor taught one of her chickens to walk backwards. Both the author and her two-legged creature made it in the Pathe News due to this unusual phenomenon.
The cage of Goldie the Chicken was covered by a numbered grid. If Goldie happened to go to the bathroom on your chosen number, you would end up as the lucky winner and go home with a t-shirt.
Finally, Flannery O’Connor’s birthday was topped off by a large peacock ornate birthday cake with purple icing in cursive that read, “Happy Birthday Flannery,” and “King of the Birds” above the drawing of the peacock.
The Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home and Museum hopes you will join them at next year’s gala for O’Connor’s 94th birthday.