Festival's origins date to 1911


Hancock County Historian Joe Skvarenina writes a weekly column for the Daily Reporter.

The Riley Festival rolls around quickly. I hope you are having a great Riley Festival. How did it all begin?

The honoring of a great man is common to us in this country. Minnie Bell Mitchell, while attending a national meeting of the federation of clubs came up with the idea of celebrating the poet’s birthday with schoolchildren. She introduced a resolution to that effect, and the idea of a birthday celebration came to life in 1911.

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