On Sunday afternoon, the Savannah Art Informer had the pleasure of attending the Flannery O’Connor Parade & Street Fair in Lafayette Square. To celebrate the author’s 89th birthday, Savannahians came together in the square where she once lived for art, music, and a small parade. References to O’Connor’s short stories were in no short supply – painted signs on trees reminded visitors that, “The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode”, and “Everything that rises must converge”, while a poet dressed as a gorilla took selfies with kids.
In a true showing of community collaboration, several local businesses and non-profits came out to help celebrators get gussied up for the parade. Civvies pulled out all the stops with their enormous feathered hat collection, St. Vincent’s Academy offered face painting, and Art Rise Savannah was on the scene helping kids paint O’Connor themed signs. For the grand finale, the Waits & Co. band (accompanied by vocalist Anna Chandler) led a parade around the square to the southern traditional “I’ll Fly Away”.
Mark O’Roark, a visitor whose costume homage to O’Connor’s Good Country People included a ladies prosthetic leg and a sign that read “Bibles 4 Sale It will only cost a leg & a glass eye”, told me, “It’s my first Flannery O’Connor day, but certainly not my last.” This year’s event was the biggest the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home has put on so far, but we suspect next year’s will be even bigger. After all, as St. Vincent’s student Virginia sagely advised, “Ms. O’Connor was a pretty cool woman.”
Take a look at the photo gallery below to see what you missed!