This Halloween, Philadelphia gets a little more “Poe-tic” at the very first Edgar Allan Poe Arts Festival at the German Society of Pennsylvania on Friday, Oct. 28. Created in partnership with the Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site, this celebration hopes to bring festivalgoers back to the origins of “All Hallows’ Eve.”
Helen McKenna-Uff, interpretive park ranger from the Poe National Historical Site, says, “Halloween was first celebrated as the precursor to All Saints’ Day. Poe was very spiritual. He loved the arts and music. We want to bring those spiritual roots to this year’s festival.”
She should know. Helen has been playing the famed author for the last 17 years and will resume the role at the festival to provide some insight on how the author died. Think you can make a convincing Poe? Take part in the costume contest or submit your original Poe-inspired poem for their “POEtry” contest on social media. The winners will be invited to perform on stage the night of the festival.
If the written word is more your flavor, handwriting expert and member of the Vidocq Society Robert Phillips will be on stage to analyze the handwriting from a select few of willing volunteers. Turns out that Poe was quite the writing critic as he was often referred as the “Tomahawk Man” for his harsh critique of fellow authors. Just ask Rufus W. Griswold, his self-proclaimed “literary executor” who took great pride in penning a damaging obituary of his former friend that many believe is the reason Poe has gotten as much attention for his character as his body of work.
There will also be tours of the Poe historical site complete with appearances by characters and creatures from the author’s imagination lurking behind every corner. Poe had lived in Philadelphia for six years but he had only resided at this location from 1843-1844. While there, he published “The Gold Bug” and “The Spectacles.”
Although “The Raven” was not written in the City of Brotherly Love, attendees will still be able to taste some RavenBeer as this Poe-inspired brewery delivers a host of literary suds including the Tell Tale Heart IPA, Annabel Lee and some Raven Special Lager.
Poe Arts Festival
Oct. 28, 5-10:00 p.m.
German Society of Pennsylvania
611 Spring Garden St.