The Gordon Parks Celebration returns to Fort Scott after cancelation last year


FORT SCOTT, Kans. — After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, a Fort Scott tradition has made its return.

The “Gordon Parks Celebration” has really been making up for lost time. Last year was supposed to be the 17th annual celebration, but since it couldn’t happen, organizers decided to combine it with this year.

Today, officials hit the ground running with a ribbon cutting, new exhibits and discussions about the famous photographer.

Thursday started off with a ribbon cutting ceremony in Gunn Park to open up the “Learning Tree Scene Sign Trail,” from the 1969 film of the same name.

Events continued back in the Gordon Parks Museum with a screening of the film with Kyle Johnson, who played Newt Winger in the film. Johnson and Photojournalist Eli Reed were both named honorees of the “2021 Choice of Weapons Award” which paid tribute to the hard work of parks.

“They wanted to recognize other people’s accomplishments and the parallels to Gordon’s career and his efforts and all of his achievements,” said Kyle Johnson, 2021 Choice of Weapons Honoree.

“Who pushed the envelope in the best way you can, by addressing issues that were close to him and I fell sort of in the same steps without realizing it in some ways,” said Eli Reed, 2021 Choice of Weapons Honoree.

Events will continue on throughout the next couple of days and finish up with a breakfast on Sunday morning.

We have a full list of events here.

Both Johnson and Reed will receive their awards at a tribute dinner Saturday night where will also be a 50 year retrospective for one of park’s movies, Shaft.

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