(BPT) – You begin Monday in your usual morning mood – grumpy. The day quickly turns around, however, after hearing a few funny stories from coworkers. Suddenly you find yourself laughing and enjoying the morning. Your outlook is positive and your spirits have been lifted, and all it took was one hilarious joke. It has to make you wonder: why don’t we laugh more often?
Laughter has healing power, and few comedians understood this quite like Lucille Ball. Born in Jamestown, New York on Aug. 6, 1911, Ball went on to star and produce her own show, “I Love Lucy” with husband Desi Arnaz. During its six-year run, “I Love Lucy” became one of the most beloved shows on television. For four seasons, it was the number one sitcom in the country. Why? Because no matter what was going on in their personal lives, audiences knew that for one hour each week, they could tune in for a good laugh and feel a little better.
Even though Ball is no longer with us, her legacy lives on. Today, her hometown in Chautauqua County, New York continues to keep her vision alive and help others through laughter with its National Comedy Center. Here are three ways to experience the fun during your next visit.
Honor the past
Ball enriched the lives of fans all across the country, and with her husband Arnaz, paved the way for many comedians who came after. To honor her legacy, Jamestown opened The Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, which features original costumes from the show, family film footage and portraits, and even Ball’s 1972 Gold Mercedes-Benz. You can also visit Desilu Studios, nicknamed the “I Love Lucy” museum to get an inside look at where the magic happened. Desilu Studios contains costumes, props and Emmy Awards from over 50 years ago, as well as re-created sets from the show.
Celebrate the present
Each year Jamestown’s National Comedy Center presents the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival (commonly known as Lucy Fest) on the first weekend of August to celebrate Ball’s birthday. In 2016, Lucy Fest runs August 4-7 and includes 50 events at a dozen venues throughout Jamestown where you’ll get to laugh along with up-and-coming comedians and attend informative workshops. Past headliners have included Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Joan Rivers, and this year you can expect to see Trevor Noah, Lewis Black and Brian Regan.
Prepare for the future
Comedy fans all over the country will soon be flocking to The National Museum of Comedy, scheduled to open in 2017. A one-of-a-kind attraction, The National Museum of Comedy plans to offer year-round programming, include more than 70 exhibits celebrating comedy, and serve as a national archive of the comedy world. Whether you’re interested in becoming a professional comedian or are interested in learning how to use comedy in your personal life, you’ll find a wide variety of workshops to attend.
Lucille Ball helped viewers find the humorous side to life and her comedic genius continues to be important today. If you’re a fan of “I Love Lucy,” comedy or even just laughing, join Jamestown in celebrating the healing power of laughter by visiting Chautauqua County, New York. Lucy Fest is expected to be a smashing success once again, and every other week offers a wide range of activities for comedy fans to enjoy. Find more information to start planning your trip by browsing tourchautauqua.com today.