FALMOUTH—The Falmouth Museums on the Green, home of the Falmouth Historical Society, in partnership with Deb and Liam Maguire, will host a Katharine Lee Bates Community Poetry Fest and Birthday Celebration on Monday, August 12, from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Falmouth Public Library, 300 Main Street, Falmouth. The event, which is free and open to all ages, celebrates local poets and the 160th birthday of Bates, author of “America the Beautiful.”
The festivities begin at 4 p.m. in the library’s Hermann Foundation Room. Winners of the all-age poetry contest held earlier this year will read their original works, and guests from the community will share their favorite poems with audience members.
Following the readings, the celebration will move outside to the Katharine Lee Bates statue on the library lawn. Leonard Miele, author of “Voice of the Tide: The Cape Cod Heritage of Katharine Lee Bates,” will deliver the opening remarks. Annie Hart Cool, dressed in period costume, will make an appearance as the celebrated poet. Delegates from the Massachusetts Legislature and Falmouth Board of Selectman will present citations honoring Katharine Lee Bates.
Following the brief ceremony, Stephanie Miele and Jean Taft will help lead a group sing-along of “Happy Birthday” and “America the Beautiful,” our national hymn based on the poem Bates first published in 1895. A giant birthday cake, provided by the Maguires, owners of the popular Main Street pub, will then be served to all participants.
Members of the Falmouth Historical Society have scheduled the Annual Poetry Fest around Bates’s birthday every year for the past 20 years to honor her life and work. Bates lived in Falmouth until she was 12, visited often, and is buried in the historic Oak Grove Cemetery on Jones Road. The author of countless works celebrated her life in Falmouth through her writings and popularized Mrs. Santa Claus with her poem, “Goody Santa Claus on a Sleigh Ride” (1889).
In the event of inclement weather, the celebration will be held in the library’s Hermann Foundation Room. For more information, visit museumsonthegreen.org or call 508-548-4857, ext. 10.