The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 17, 2012

Enjoy 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' Saturday night

MILTON — Women, dig out that black shift dress and those pearls. Guys, your skinniest tie. And bring a huckleberry friend to the third annual Literary Lawn Party at Rose Hill on Saturday night, where you’ll join nearly 75 others celebrating Truman Capote’s 1958 novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and its 1961 film adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn.

“We encourage people to dress appropriately for the theme of the party,” said Amy DeHart Woodcock, president of the seven-member Milton Public Library board. “But it’s not necessary. Some people really get into it.”

Holly Golightly, a debutante who becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her New York brownstone, was said to be Capote’s favorite character. It didn’t hurt that Hepburn — selected by 2,000 females in a 2010 QVC poll as the most beautiful woman of the 20th century — was cast in the film’s leading role.

“She was absolutely gorgeous,” Woodcock said. “But more importantly, she was a beautiful person through her philanthropy and work with UNICEF,” which promotes children’s rights, development and protection.

“She was just an impressive person.”

The Milton Public Library at Rose Hill is equally impressive.

The building was purchased for $1 million about five years ago and, four years and $2.5 million in renovations later, opened in April.

“It’s more user-friendly,” library director Sue Williams said of Rose Hill.

Square footage was increased from 4,000 to 11,000 when the library moved from its former site downtown, and book borrowing has risen from an average of 3,300 in the first quarter to 5,300 since the move to 541 Broadway.

“I think everyone is enjoying the new space,” Woodcock said. “It’s a beautiful, light-filled space as compared to the cramped quarters downtown.”

Not to mention the six acres surrounding the building, perfect for late-summer evenings devoted to commemorating masterpieces of American literature.

The Literary Lawn Party has become one of the library’s largest fundraisers each year. The first, whose theme was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” raised nearly $9,000, Woodcock said.

The second, honoring Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” raised a little less. Proceeds benefit a library that has a $180,000 operating budget, with 25 percent to 30 percent needing to be raised, Woodcock said.

“We try to find a novel or novella that has some sort of good party theme,” Woodcock said. “(Holly Golightly) was a socialite and a party girl. Although the story is sad, there is definitely an element of partying.”

Themes are not always selected by library board votes, Woodcock said.

Said Woodcock: “We arrive at an idea.”

Early 1960s jazz, performed by Greg Burgess, of Selinsgrove, will waft across the grounds, under the big tent and into the carriage house as visitors discuss Capote’s writing. Or Hepburn’s fashions.

“(The theme) was chosen as a combination of both,” Woodcock said. “Truman Capote because he was one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. And we choose a lighthearted party theme in the book.”

Tickets for the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. event cost $40, or $35 for Friends of the Library. That includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment by pianist Burgess, who will perform music written by Henry Mancini, such as “Days of Wine and Roses,” “Peter Gunn,” “The Pink Panther” and “Baby Elephant Walk.”

And, of course, “Moon River,” the theme song to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Walkups are welcome, as are dream makers and heart breakers, Woodcock said.

“Absolutely,” she said. “We will welcome anyone.”

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