2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
Just three hours west from St. Louis on highway 44, a group of U.S. presidential descendants gather every year and are joined by celebrities, heroes, and an eclectic group of award honorees–which usually includes Gone With The Wind people.
The Marshfield Cherry Blossom Festival—the last week in April– is an annual four-day event that celebrates the city of Marshfield and the state of Missouri. It was started by Nicholas Inman, who had spent time in Washington, D.C. as an intern and wanted to bring some of the beauty and excitement of Cherry Blossom Festival to Missouri. There are always a group of interesting people who are featured.
Activities are varied and scheduled throughout the event. Vendors sell and customers buy crafts, food, books and many other wonderful things. There are fun activities for the entire family and special speakers are brought in that are both entertaining and educational. People and events that have impacted Marshfield, the state, and the nation are honored and remembered at luncheons, dinners or special ceremonies held during the four-day event.
Descendants of Presidents are invited to come and share their stories. Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Cleveland, Ford– these are just a few of the Presidents that have been represented at the Cherry Blossom Festivities, and this year Jenna Bush Hager will be there. Besides her father and grandfather who were presidents, she is also a descendant of Franklin Pierce.
Celebrities with ties to Missouri are also invited, and in the past few years there has been a Gone With The Wind presence and television element.
Scheduled to attend this year’s festival:
Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island)
Morgan Brittany (Katherine from Dallas)
John Provost (Timmy from Lassie)
Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling from Andy Griffith Show)
The Pressley’s from Branson
Mickey Kuhn (Actor, “Beau Wilkes” in Gone With the Wind)
Greg Giese (“Baby Beau Wilkes” “Baby Bonnie Blue Butler” in Gone With The Wind)
Dr. Christopher Sullivan (Gone With the Wind collector & 2011 Hubble Honoree)
Joseph Yacovetic (Artist, award-winning costume designer, painted Gone With The Wind, Wizard of Oz and is a Disney artist)
Gerald Blaine (Secret Service Agent in Kennedy White House)
Amy Morrisey Kleppner (niece of Amelia Earhart)
Jennifer Harville (Great-granddaughter of Coolidge)
Tom Washington & family (Washington)
Richard Gatchell & family (Monroe)
Marie Clinton Bruno (Clinton)
Bertram Hayes-Davis & family (Jefferson Davis and Rutherford B. Hayes)
Jenna (Bush) Hager (Pierce and Bush Family)
John Truman (Truman)
Lucian and Chris Truscott (Jefferson)
Rett Adams (Adams)
George Cleveland (Grandson of Cleveland)
John, Neita & Jill Campbell (Polk)
Mary Todd Lincoln family
Lynne Jackson (Dred & Harriet Scott)
Dr. Richard Harding (Harding)
Dr. Ken Hechler (aide to F.D. Roosevelt and Truman)
Maggie Peterson Mancuso (“Charlene Darling”/Andy Griffith Show)
Lyon Tyler (Grandson of Tyler)
Susan Tyler (Great-Granddaughter of Tyler)
Dr. Richard Harding (Grand-Nephew of Harding)
Devon & Donald Nixon (Nixon & Eisenhower Family)
Clifton Truman Daniel (Truman)
THE DRED AND HARRIET SCOTT RECONCILIATION FORUM
History comes alive once again at the 6th annual Cherry Blossom Festival with new event from last year which was so popular they are bringing it back for a second time. Noted for honoring famous Missourians, the festival will be the site of the first Dred and Harriet Scott Reconciliation Forum hosted by the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. Descendants of civil rights leaders, abolitionists, and founding presidents will be on the panel. Marshfield honored Dred Scott with a star on its Walk of Fame in 2007 making him the first African American to be installed.
Lynne Jackson, great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott founded the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation with her family and works to keep his memory alive. She puts together the Dred and Harriet Scott Reconciliation Forum at the Cherry Blossom Festival. Missouri school children take field trips to the “Old Courthouse” in downtown St. Louis and learn about the case which was handed down on the steps of that courthouse. Scott was a slave and when the family he worked for moved from a “slave state” to a “free state” he began questioning his situation and eventually got a lawyer and the rest was history. The Foundation is working with school children to raise funds to build a statue of Dred and Harriet Scott. For information: thedredscottfoundation.org
2012 Marshfield, Mo. Cherry Blossom Festival Schedule
Thursday, April 26
10:30 AM – Kennedy White House Secret Service Agent, Gerald Blaine speaks – Cross Bridge Church
2:30 PM – English Tea – Holy Trinity Catholic Church
4:15 PM – Ella Dickey Literacy Award at The Crossing (across from CrossBridge Church)
7:30 PM – Free concert featuring Keith Steward & Chaz Knapp at The Jays Nest on the Marshfield Square
Friday, April 27
9 AM – Jenna (Bush) Hager (Carl & Glessie Young Auditorium at the High School) – Event is open to the public and free (as are all events except dinners)
11:15 AM – Dr. Richard Harding – “Medical Care of the Ultimate VIP” at the Crossing, across from CrossBridge Church
1 PM – Missouri Walk of Fame Ceremony at The Crossing (Across from CrossBridge Church)
2:30 – 4:30 PM – Dred & Harriet Scott Reconciliation Forum “Dred and Harriet Scott Reconciliation Forum is, The Courage of Their Convictions. Exploring the courageous convictions of ancestors regardless of their worldviews” at The Crossing (Across the street from CrossBridge Church)- Lynn Jackson, great-niece of Dred Scott
6:30 PM – Edwin P. Hubble Medal of Initiative Dinner (Holy Trinity Catholic Church) tickets $20
* Annual Cherry Pie Contest & Auction will be held in conjunction with the annual Hubble Dinner
Saturday, April 28
8:30 AM – 2nd Annual Presidential Prayer Breakfast – hosted by the Elkland Independent Methodist Church at White Stone Wedding Chapel (donations accepted)
10:30 AM – Founding Fathers Forum at Marshfield Assembly of God- Included in the forum will be descendants of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Jay, & James Monroe
1:30 PM – Presidential Family Forum at Marshfield Assembly of God
2-3 PM, High Hopes Bluegrass concert at Marshfield Square
Saturday Evening 5:30 doors open 6 p.m. dinner: Third Annual State Dinner (Blackberry Creek Retreat) $50
Clifton Truman Daniel- Grandson of Harry S. Truman
*Presidential Descendant signing following annual Presidential Family Forum at Marshfield Assembly of God
2012 Cherry Blossom Awards
HUBBLE AWARD HONOREES
Surviving Credited Cast of Gone With The Wind
Also honored but not attending: Olivia de Havilland, Alicia Rhett, Ann Rutherford
Jenna Bush Hager
“Kids Need To Read” Denise Gary, Nathan Fillion & PJ Haarsma.
2012 WALK OF FAME HONOREES
Amelia Earhart- Accepting the star will be Amelia Earhart’s niece, Amy Morrissey Kleppner
2012 CHERRY BLOSSOM MEDAL HONOREES
2012 ELLA DICKEY LITERACY AWARD HONOREES
2012 Ella Dickey Literacy Award Winner
Gerald Blaine– Secret Service agent in Kennedy White House
Christina Haag Writer of Come to the Edge “a book which chronicles her childhood friendship and 5 year romance with John Kennedy, Jr.”
Vendors & Bluegrass Music
Downtown Historic Marshfield Square
Friday, April 27 & Saturday, April 28
BACKGROUND of CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL – From their website
The project of planting cherry blossom trees in the city of Marshfield, Missouri came about from a dream of local resident, Nicholas W. Inman. Following an internship in Washington, D.C. he returned home, for he had become a little homesick. However, due to his love of our nation’s capital he decided that it would be nice to bring just a small touch of Washington to his hometown. Thus, allowing everyone a chance to enjoy both worlds.
The cherry blossom project was began in 2003, although the first official planting did not occur until 2004. The first tree was planted at the Webster County Museum by Missouri First Lady Lori Houser Holden. It was decided on by the local Tree City USA advisory committee that each Missouri First Lady would be asked to plant a tree. This occurred due to the fact that the nations First Ladies had planted the trees in the nation’s capital. In fact, First Lady Helen Taft planted the first tree in Washington, D.C
Soon the cherry blossom project spread throughout the city. Numerous dignitaries have visited to plant trees including; Jerry Jones (Owner of the Dallas Cowboys), Jean Carnahan (Former Missouri First Lady and United States Senator), Pat Wilson (Former Missouri First Lady), Betty Hearnes (Former Missouri First Lady), John and Hilda Lane (nephew of Dr. Edwin P. Hubble), Lesley Kays (Webster County Sesquicentennial Queen) along with several group plantings.
Not long after the tree was adopted amongst residents, the local school board named a street on their local campus “Cherry Blossom Way.” This came at the urging of Inman, Neva Shroder and the tree committee, who fostered the idea of lining the way with cherry blossom trees.
Following the decision, the Marshfield United Methodist Church and the Marshfield High School Alumni Association became part of the project and they began encouraging their members to purchase clumps of trees along the way. Today, the way is lined with numerous clumps that, once they mature, shall exhibit a breathtaking view during the blooming season.
In the beginning the Marshfield Rotary club purchased a large amount of small cherry blossom starts. Volunteers planted several cherry blossom trees on public property and a series of promotions encouraged citizens to plant cherry blossoms on private property. They have quite a few trees planted throughout Marshfield, but would love to see more planted every year.
At the urging of local residents, Inman formed the first “cherry blossom festival committee” for the 2006 blooming season. A dedicated and faithful group to the project was appointed and they have begun work on an exciting opportunity for everyone who visits the city in April of 2006.
Although many of the trees are still young, the view and anticipation will one day be great. The city of Marshfield shall forever profit, due to the dream of a young man, who dared to dream a little outside of the box.
Sally Tippett Rains is the author of “The Making of a Masterpiece, the True Story of Margaret Mitchell and Gone With The Wind”. You can subscribe to this blog and also follow Sally on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/GWTWbookcom/394926172974