Thousands to gather for 47th James Dean Festival

Sep. 16—FAIRMOUNT — Roughly 30,000 people are expected to gather for food and fun in remembrance of cinematic icon James Dean at the 47th annual James Dean Festival, slated for Sept. 22-24.

Festivities include James Dean look-a-like contests for kids and adults and the 44th annual James Dean Run Car Show.

About 1,500 classic cars from 1979 and earlier are expected to be displayed during the show at Play Acres Park, according to car show chairman Larry Williams.

Cars will be judged and awards will be given in various categories, which include mild custom, 50s custom, muscle cars and street rod coupes.

A precise schedule of events is available at the James Dean Museum website.

The festival provides a chance to interact with James Dean's hometown and the people who knew him well, including Dean's cousin, Marcus Winslow.

According to Williams, the two lived together as Dean went to live with his aunt and uncle, Winslow's parents, after his mother's death when he was nine years old.

The two shared many memories before Dean's untimely death in 1955 at the age of 24.

Others in Fairmount have shared memories with Dean, whom they affectionately refer to as "Jimmy."

Christy Pulley-Berry, board president for the James Dean Museum Board of Directors, said her father, Bob Pulley, was a friend and classmate of Dean's.

She told a story of Dean and Pulley riding on his motorbike. She said Dean would pop a wheelie, playfully knocking her father off the back.

More than a friend, Dean was also someone who played a role in changing the public's perception of young men through his films, according to Berry.

"'Rebel Without a Cause' was the first time you got to see a youth who was kind of rebellious and not so happy," she said. "I think it still speaks to people today."

Those attending the festival on Saturday evening will be able to see Dean's "rebellious" side firsthand when "Rebel Without a Cause" is shown at the Main Street Stage.

Follow Caleb Amick on Twitter

@AmickCaleb. Contact him at

or 765-648-4254.