The annual celebration, sponsored by the Jesse Stuart Foundation and the park, will kick off early Friday afternoon with foundation associate member Bud Vanzant leading a hike through the 714-acre nature preserve named after Stuart and up the wooded trail to the top of the hill and the cabin.
The group will gather in the lobby of the park’s Jesse Stuart Lodge at 1:30 p.m.
Then, in the program scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the lodge’s meeting room No. 1, John Howard Spurlock will be discussing the novel itself and what motivated Stuart to write it.
Spurlock, who wrote a forward to the new edition published by the foundation, will be available to sign copies of the book.
Jim Gifford, retired director of the foundation, will also be speaking about the book he is writing, “The Apple Never Falls Far From the Tree,” which discusses various aspects of Stuart’s life.
Also on the program is a talk by Tom Adkins on Stuart’s grandmother, Violet Pennington Hylton. Stuart wrote several poems about his mysterious grandmother and wanted to sort out her story himself, but suffered a 1978 stroke and was never able to do the research.
Adkins, director of the Garnet Wilson Public Library in Waverly, Ohio, was able to unravel her story.
Adkins was named outstanding young library professional in 1998 and last year was appointed by Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to the Ohio Historical Society Board of Trustees.
After the program, a reception to welcome visitors will be held in conference room No. 1. Light snacks will be served.
On Saturday morning, foundation board member David Palmore and Stacy Nelson, Stuart’s nephew, will guide an informative bus tour of the land that inspired Stuart’s writings. The tour includes going past the Naomi Deane and Jesse Stuart homeplace, now lived in by their daughter, Jane.
On last year’s tour, Jane welcomed visitors in to tour the house.
The bus also travels up the hill beyond the Stuart homeplace to the house where he grew up. The smokehouse he wrote in is included in the tour.
The entire program is free to the public.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.