Dream Works to open park
Shrek might find a home in the swamps of northern New Jersey. DreamWorks Animation, the studio that created the green ogre and the wisecracking zoo animals of “Madagascar,” announced it has agreed to license its characters, storytelling and technology for an indoor theme park at a long-stalled and vacant megamall in the Meadowlands. Plans for the mall include an indoor ice rink, ski and snowboard park, water park, movie theaters, restaurants, retail stores and a live performing arts theater.
Pirate Festival in Michigan
Swashbuckling family fun awaits attendees of the sixth annual Michigan Pirate Festival in West Michigan next month. Loutit District Library and Harbor Island will be the port for this year’s festival, which will be held in Grand Haven Aug. 6-12. “Pirates through the Ages” will be this year’s theme. Pirate re-enactors will entertain during the event that also will feature Viking, Roman, and Civil War pirates. Visit www.michiganpiratefestival.com.
Scopes Festival cancelled
There won’t be a Scopes Festival in Dayton, Ohio, this year. For more than 20 years, the town has held a festival in July marking the anniversary of the famous Scopes “monkey trial” that took place in Dayton in 1925. The festival was scheduled for July 20-21. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported organizers have canceled the 25th annual festival because of “unforeseen circumstances.” A new play about the trial was to debut at the festival, but organizers said they ran into problems with the production, such as scheduling conflicts among cast members. The festival is scheduled to resume next year.
Topeka celebrates Volunteers
A group that publicizes Kansas history is planning a three-day celebration in Topeka next month to mark the 150th anniversary of the formation of the first unit of black soldiers to go into battle during the Civil War. The Kansas Fever Committee plans to have events starting Aug. 3. The site will be in Cushinberry Park, near the national historic sit e dedicated to the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board decision in 1954 declaring segregated schools unconstitutional. The celebration will honor the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers, which formed in 1862 and went into its first battle in Missouri in October 1862. That was nine months before the first battle in South Carolina for the better-known 54th Massachusetts, subject of the 1989 film, “Glory.” Visit www.kansascity.com/2012/07/09/3696835/3-day-kansas-event-to-honor-black.html.