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Seneca Falls Town Board Honors “It’s A Wonderful Life” actress Karolyn Grimes

At a ceremony held this morning at the It’s A Wonderful Life museum in Seneca Falls, on behalf of the Town Board, Town Supervisor Michael Ferrara paid tribute to actress Karolyn Grimes presenting a certificate of honor. Ferrara read aloud the town board’s gratitude for making our town her second home and for her 20 years of support of the festival and museum.

is hereby presented to
On the 20th Anniversary of Her Cultural Contributions
to Seneca Falls and the “It’s A Wonderful Life” Festival

On this 9th day of December in the year 2022, at the stroke of 9:00 a.m., ‘The Bells of the Real Bedford Falls Ring in Honor of Karolyn Grimes’ through the streets of our historic canal town of Seneca Falls, NY, to celebrate her extraordinary talents in the film arts, honoring a film character that has captured hearts and founded memories for generations- Karolyn Grimes is ‘the Real Bedford Falls’ personified.

It all began in 1946, when director Frank Capra’s film “It’s a Wonderful Life” was released to cinemas and Zuzu Bailey captured the hearts of cinema enthusiasts.  Since then, the film has become a holiday cult classic.  At the young age of 4, Karolyn Grimes began working in film and just two short years later, at the age of 6, she became known to the world as “Zuzu”, uttering the now famous line, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets it’s wings.”

Karolyn has been a cultural fixture in historic Seneca Falls having attended the annual It’s A Wonderful Life festival since December 6, 2002.  Upon one of her first visits, she said “When I came around the corner and saw main street, I gasped and said, ‘This is Bedford Falls!’ and that ‘coming to Seneca Falls is like coming home.”

Additionally, Karolyn has donated hundreds of pieces of memorabilia to the It’s A Wonderful Life museum since its opening in 2010- ever perpetuating and preserving this phenomenon that truly has been a gift to so many.  Karolyn herself has said ‘…the best gifts are the stories related by those same angels’ referring to the many fans who share with her their personal stories relating to the film.

Today, we kick off the 20th celebration of It’s A Wonderful Life festival, marking the iconic film with a nostalgic welcome by Seneca Fallsians and visitors from around the world to ‘the Real Bedford Falls’.  
The town extends a warm welcome to original cast members: Karolyn Grimes (“Zuzu Bailey”), Jimmy Hawkins (“Tommy Bailey”), Michael Chapin (“Young George’s Friend”), and Donald and Ronald Collins (“Young Pete Bailey”) with special guests Mary, Monica Capra Hodges, Hannah Capra Ermi, and featuring Shaylyn Ford, Mrs. World 2022, Elizabeth Kress, Lauren Chapin, Actor Brian Rohan and Author Michael Willian.

On Sunday, the festival will ‘Toast to Karolyn’ at breakfast, and close with the ‘Auld Lang Syne’ dinner.  
And so to you our dear friend, Karolyn, we raise a cup of kindness yet. 
And there’s a hand my trusty friend!  And give us a hand o’ thine!
For Auld Lang Syne.

Now, I, Michael J. Ferrara, on behalf of the Seneca Falls Town Board, and the citizens of Seneca Falls, thank you Karolyn for filling countless hearts, young and old, with the spirit of the holidays and for gifting the Town of Seneca Falls a ‘Wonderful Life’.

Town Supervisor Ferrara and actress Karolyn Grimes

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