There is no clearer way to put it: You must go to the Oliver Hardy Festival.
Those who have been know why. Those who haven't must go to find out what the rest of us know: Harlem really knows how to throw a party.
Columbia County has its fair share of famous historical figures. Most are of relatively ancient vintage, such as William Few or Daniel Marshall. With the exception of Charlie Norwood, the county hasn't produced very many high-powered modern political figures, and only Grovetown's Terri Gibbs has approached pop culture fame with a single hit song 26 years ago.
Oliver Hardy, to the rescue. The rotund half of the Laurel and Hardy comedic duo was born in Harlem in 1892. He lived in the city only as an infant - but long enough that his hometown could eagerly claim him years after his fame had circled the globe.
The namesake festival, now in its 19th year, capitalizes on that renown by drawing fans from all over the world. But even if post-Vaudeville slapstick isn't your idea of great cinema, the Oliver Hardy Festival is a feast - literally and figuratively - of fun.
There are thousands of reasons the festival is Columbia County's largest single-day event, bringing 35,000 people to a city with barely a 10th that many residents.
It all starts at 9 a.m., right in the middle of Harlem. You really should be there.
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