The 2009 Annual Superman Celebration is officially in the record books and marked the 31st year Metropolis, Illinois has held its annual event. During the past 30 celebrations the crowds have grown to over 30,000 flocking to the only town in America that is officially known as the "Home of Superman."
Each Second Full Weekend in June, the City of Metropolis IL, the "Home of Superman" celebrates their Favorite Son, Superman with this fun and festive celebration!
Click here to read all about the 2008 Superman Celebration including pictures and a review of the festivities that took place.
31st Annual Superman Celebration Coverage - Day 1
After an 11 hour drive from Conway, SC to Metropolis, Illinois with a brief stop in Gatlinburg, TN, my wife Jennifer and I have arrived at the 31st Annual Superman Celebration.
Our first day in Metropolis was on Wednesday with a stop by the Baymont Inn to check into our room. Jennifer stayed behind while I made a stop by the Metropolis Chamber to pick up my Celebration sponsership packet which had 2 t-shirts, 2 VIP passes and an awesome Celebration brochure ad for the site.
Leaving the Chamber, I ran into Jim Hambrick and after chatting a bit we checked out the new Super Museum mural located on the side of the museum building. It is a wonderful mural of all the actors who have portrayed Superman and a 100% improvement over the previous mural.
My next stop was at the new information kiosk for the city of Metropolis which is located directly across from the mural. It is located in an air conditioned booth (major plus) and features info on all the area attractions and businesses visitors may be interested in checking out.
After running into a few other Superman fans and friends, Jennifer and I journeyed across the Ohio River into Paducah for the inevitable visit to Wal-Mart.
Returning back to our hotel, I was lucky enough to run into Noel Neill and Larry Ward who had just arrived in town and we spoke briefly before they headed off to their rooms.
I hung around in the lobby until about midnight talking with fellow Super-fans about anything and everything pertaining to the Man of Steel until retiring for the evening.
We will be venturing into town later today for the kick off of the Celebration at 5:00 with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by the official ground breaking ceremony for the Noel Neill Statue.
Please check back in routinely for updates and videos of all the festivities taking place over the next few days!
31st Annual Superman Celebration Coverage - Day 2
The 31st Annual Superman Celebration officially kicked off in style on Thursday, June 11th at 5:00PM.
The opening ceremony began with a laugh out loud skit featuring Lex Luthor, Superman, Lois Lane and Darkseid which was followed by the presentation of certificates for last year's Guinness Book of World Records "Largest Gathering of Individuals Dressed as Superman" event.
Up next was the groundbreaking ceremony for the Noel Neill Statue at the corner of 8th and Market Streets. Noel Neill arrived in style in a vintage Studabaker and took part in the groundbreaking along with Mayor Billy McDaniel, "Superman" and other dignataries.
The evening wound down with an interview with "Batmobile" owner Clint Young (featured below), gospel music from Cross Harmony and The Kingsmen and a brief shower helped cool things down a little for the annual Superman Road Race at Fort Massac State Park.
Tomorrow features the first full day of activities including the third annual "Superman Fans" baseball game and the opening of Artists Alley. Look for a complete review and video of Friday's events tomorrow evening!
31st Annual Superman Celebration Coverage - Day 3
Day three of the Superman Celebration kicked off with the 3rd Annual Superman Fans Baseball Game. After 9 innings of awesome gameplay, the Metropolis Marvels came out on top with a final score of 19 - 17 over the Smallville Meteors.
Next up was a stop by the Artists Alley where Jennifer & I met Beverly Washburn (pictured right) and talked to her in length about her amazing film & television career.
We also met many artists and writers that were also on hand such as Lin Workman, Jay Chuppe, Kevin Williams, Adam Shaw and "Flights of Fantasy" author Michael Hayde.
After a visit by the Metropolis Chamber to pick up our press passes and purchase an "Honorary Citizen of Metropolis" certificate (swearing in for me is Sunday), we decided to have lunch at the new Dippin Dots on Superman Square which is the largest one in the world.
The Americana Hollywood museum was next on our agenda and features all the cool collectibles Jim Hambrick has amassed over the years from such genres as Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, Monster Movies, Elvis Presley and John Wayne. This museum is an absolute must see when you visit Metropolis and like the Super Museum, is always being updated and switched around.
To finish out the evening, Jennifer and I attended the press mixer at Harrah's Casino which featured question & answer time with Noel Neill, Beverly Washburn, Phil Morris, and Justin Hartley.
Everyone on the celebrity panel was extremely cordial and very forthcoming with answers to everyone's questions. Video of the entire press mixer will be posted tomorrow so please be sure to check it out to see what everyone had to say.
Tomorrow is another full day of events with such highlights as the George Awards & Auction and the celebrity autograph sessions. Check in tomorrow night for a complete recap of the third full day of the Superman Celebration!
31st Annual Superman Celebration Coverage - Day 4
The third full day of the Superman Celebration started off with a quick stop by the Metropolis Planet offices where Jennifer & I posed for pictures by the iconic "Daily Planet" globe located in front in the building.
We next journeyed to the Artists Alley where we met our friend and actor Jeffrey Breslaurer whom we had met at the 2008 Superman Celebration. Jeffrey was gracious enough to grant me a quick interview about his career which I will have posted to the site soon.
We also visited with artist Kevin Williams and his famous sidekick "Muley" and were treated to an interview by the two of them as well followed by a stop to a very packed Super Museum to pick up tickets for the George Awards and Auction later in the evening.
It was then off to the Metropolis Chamber for our VIP autograph session with Noel Neill, Phil Morris and Justin Hartley. Each one was very cordial and took the time to speak with every fan as well as sign any items they had.
The evening was wrapped up with the always exciting George Awards and Auction which took place this year at the Metropolis Community Center.
The presentation of awards kicked off the night's festivities with the Noel Neill Award going to Metropolis Tourism director Angie Shelton. The coveted George Award was presented to Steven Kirk who has helped with the Metropolis Celebration for many years including organizing the "Most People Dressed as Superman" World Record attempt in 2008 as well as emceeing the auction for the second year.
Other awards presented were the "Superman of Metropolis" certificates which are awarded to individuals for their work in helping to promote Metropolis and the Celebration. Much to my surprise and joy, I was presented with one of these awards (pictured above right) inscribed to me by Noel Neill, Beverly Washburn and Larry Ward which I will cherish always.
Tomorrow will be the final day of the celebration but many activities are planned such as the annual costume contest, scavenger hunt and the swearing in ceremony for Honorary Citizens of Metropolis. Check out the site tomorrow for a complete recap of the final day's events.
31st Annual Superman Celebration Coverage - Final Day
The final day of the Superman Celebration kicked off with the annual car show at Fort Massac which featured many makes and models from over the past decades.
The always crowd pleasing costume contest was up next at noon with Jor-El, aka Steven Kirk (pictured right) serving as emcee. The costumes once again were outstanding with such entries as Mr. Freeze, Darkseid, Iron Man, and an amazing Red Tornado who took home the title as Best Hero.
Following the costume contest was the second official swearing in ceremony for "Honorary Citizens of Metropolis" which I was proud to participate in.
Jennifer and I then headed one block over to visit the Massac Theater and see first hand the restoration effort that lies ahead. Although the building is in need of major work, the brickwork & facade are in good condition and a restoration is absolutely possible with the help of the recently formed Save the Massac Organization.
We next decided to head across the river into Paducah for lunch but as opposed to taking I-24, we tried a different route through the small town of Brookport, IL on Hwy. 45 which took us across the Irvin S. Cobb bridge.
I only mention this because if you have never been across this bridge before, it will result in a white knuckled drive because the unique roadway will cause your car to shimmy side to side from Illinois to Kentucky.
The Celebration would wind down with a scavenger hunt at 3:00pm and by 5:00pm, Market Street and the surrounding area were almost completely empty of all vendors with only a few tents left to remind everyone of the past four days of festivities and excitement.
Tomorrow, Jennifer and I will begin our journey back to South Carolina with fond memories of the past four days and the friends we were able to see once again.
Although the 32nd Celebration is a full year away, it will be a joy to return to Metropolis in 2010 and see everyone once again.