PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND CELEBRATES “ANNE’S” 100TH BIRTHDAY

Year-long festivities honor Canada’s Green Gables Heroine with Country Fairs, Concerts, Ceilidhs, Barn Dances and a Quilt Showcase

A pastoral island in the Canadian Maritimes is celebrating a cherished heroine on her 100th “birthday.” Lucy Maud Montgomery’s red-haired orphan, Anne of Green Gables has charmed millions of readers all over the world for almost a century.  In her honor, Prince Edward Island (PEI) is hosting a year-long series of ceilidhs and kitchen parties, country fairs and concerts, picnics, barn dances and firelight story-telling sessions.  Come June this welcoming island in Atlantic Canada will be a non-stop open-air festival for the whole summer. Historical re-enactments, theatrical performances and parades are also planned and homemade ice cream and raspberry cordial will be in plentiful supply.

Inspired by the rhythms of this gentle island, of the sea, and its people, Anne of Green Gables continues to draw visitors to PEI – some 1.37 million in 2007 – to see the sights Montgomery made famous. An immediate best seller in 1908, it tells the story of a precocious orphan girl who is adopted by Prince Edward Island farmers. The novel has been translated into 36 languages and more than 50 million copies have been sold.

In the charming town of Cavendish, visitors can tour the green-and- white farmhouse and gardens of Green Gables where Montgomery lived and follow the Haunted Wood and Balsam Hollow walking trails.  In Avonlea, characters from the novel mingle with visitors in this storybook village amid heritage buildings, living history museums and the flowering Avonlea Gardens.

From July 3 to 6, the Anne of Green Gables Country Fair will recreate the magical world of this fictional heroine against the backdrop of a good old-fashioned country fair. Families and friends can step back in time to enjoy a barn dance, picnic, garden party, concerts, parades, games, races – even writing workshops.

Throughout July and August during L.M. Montgomery Festival Days special activities will take place every week day at the island locations made famous in the novel.

Daily fun-filled events:

Mon: Chat with an expert about Montgomery in New London.
Tues:  Meet Montgomery’s great grandson, John MacNeil.
Wed:  Montgomery short story readings at the Bideford Museum
Thurs:  Scrapbooking & hot cocoa at Green Gables
Fri:   Learn to play spoons at an Atlantic Canadian kitchen party

Other scheduled events include: the 8th International L.M. Montgomery Conference commemorating the life and works of Anne’s creator from June 25 to 29 and the “Kindred Spirits” Quilt & Textile Showcase in Charlottetown from September 12 to October 12, which will display textile works that celebrate the author and her novel.  In historic Summerside visitors can take buggy rides and attend an old-fashioned kitchen party – just two of the many summer-long festivities planned.  Continuing to enchant visitors, Anne of Green Gables – the Musical™ will kick off on June 14 with new “behind-the-scenes” tours and “meet-the-cast” events. Now in its 43rd edition, the longest running musical in Canada – and arguably the world – has attracted 3.3 million viewers since 1965.

The island has changed little since Montgomery’s time. Winding country roads lead through small farming communities to quaint fishing harbors and long sandy beaches. Over 180 miles long, the Confederation Trail provides hikers, cyclists and runners with a beautiful route through picturesque seascapes. Prince Edward Island has more than two dozen golf courses and the local waters are prime territory for fishermen.  PEI has a wide selection of reasonably-priced cottages and accommodations that are perfect for families. A double room at a Charlottetown hotel starts at $77 and a cottage for four is only $467 for a week.

      “Anne symbolizes the power of creativity and imagination, optimism, determination and of course, the beauty of our gentle island and its culture,” explains the Honorable Valerie. E. Docherty, Minister of Tourism for Prince Edward Island. “With all the exciting events we have planned, we’re looking forward to welcoming more Americans this year,” Minister Docherty says.
   
Visit the official Anne of Green Gables site for news and information about the 100th anniversary including a month-by-month listing of events, a vacation planner, educational materials for teachers as well as information on L.M. Montgomery. Itineraries and packages will be added soon.  For more information about the celebration, call 1-902-566-3346 or email: info@anne2008.com. For more information on Prince Edward Island, go to www.gentleisland.com.

 Prince Edward Island is a member of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP).