For the Reporter
The Reverend Greg Asimakoupoulos, chaplain at Covenant Living at the Shores, will be a featured guest at the It’s a Wonderful Life Festival in Seneca Falls, New York, Dec. 8-12.
This year the annual festival in the Empire State marks the 75th anniversary of the Frank Capra holiday favorite. Asimakoupoulos will join surviving cast members of the popular holiday movie, including Karolyn Grimes, Carol Coombs Mueller and Jimmy Hawkins for the five-day event. Also in attendance will be Monica Capra Hodges, the granddaughter of Frank Capra who lives in Mount Vernon.
“I was first invited to speak at the festival in 2015 following the release of my book ‘Finding God in It’s a Wonderful Life,’” Asimakoupoulos told the Reporter. “Since that time, I have made the trip each December with the exception of last year when the festival was canceled due to COVID.”
During the festival weekend, Asimakoupoulos will be the guest preacher at the United Methodist Church of Seneca Falls and will give a lecture at the First Presbyterian Church. In addition, he will sign copies of his book that has just been updated and expanded for the 75th anniversary.
Asimakoupoulos will also be included in a radio documentary about “It’s a Wonderful Life” produced by the BBC that will be aired in England the day after Christmas.
“A producer for the BBC saw my sermon ‘The Gospel According to George Bailey’ announced on the festival website,” Asimakoupoulos explained. “Since she is doing commemorative program about the movie and its religious overtones, she reached out to me.”
The festival was established in Seneca Falls in 1996 because locals believe Hollywood director Frank Capra created fictional Bedford Falls following his visit to upstate New York in the 1940s. There are many scenes and references in the movie that are consistent with such a claim.
Copies of “Finding God in It’s a Wonderful Life” are available at Island Books (3014 78th Ave. SE) and there will be a book signing with Asimakoupoulos at the store from 2-4 p.m. on Dec. 5.