Flannery O’Connor Parade and Street fair fills Lafayette Square


One of the pieces by Panhandle Slim
Local folk artist Panhandle Slim’s work was on display at the street fair. He has covered O’Connor extensively in his  work. (Photo by Melanie Gibson)

Melanie Gibson, Staff Writer

Flannery O’Conner’s birthday celebration this past Saturday saw Lafayette Square dotted with attendees dressed to resemble characters from the works of the famous Savannah author.

O’Connor’s birthday is held as a public event each year in an attempt to draw more visitors to the Flannery O’Connor Childhood Home on Charlton Street, while exposing the public to nearby artists and authors.

“They look interesting,” said Annette Laing, British-born American/British historian, author of the Snipesville Chronicles, and tenured professor (Georgia Southern University). “Everyone is so unique, aren’t they?”

Laing was just one of various local authors featured at the celebration, many of whom had stands featuring their work such as the Southern Poetry Review, Don Cellini, Tina Whittle and several others.

Each author was not limited to one genre or type of writing: there were poets and novelists, informative writers and fiction writers.

Patrons enjoyed coffee from the Sentient Bean, free snacks, an art sale by Panhandle Slim, and the chance to browse Kleo’s handmade soaps.

Children were able to participate in activities such as face painting, record spin art and chicken bingo (where the chicken defecates on a large bingo board could mean a prize) were available.

Several local bands combined at the parade to form the Sweet Thunder Strolling Band such as Culture Vulture members James Webber, Nick Gilbert and Matthew Pelton, as well as singer Anna Chandler and banjo player Bill Smith,  among others.

Following the sale,  a miniature parade around Lafayette Square was led by Sweet Thunder. Anyone who a attended the event was invited to create a sign to march with, typically composed of quotes, puns and art.

The event’s Facebook page estimated that at least 200 citizens were interested in attending. Several Armstrong students and faculty were in attendance.

For more about this annual celebration and other events regarding Flannery O’Connor, be sure to visit their website.