Ava Gardner Concert

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Ava Gardner Festival

The Ava Gardner Museum hosts an annual festival in honor of the legendary actress, fashion icon, and humanitarian Ava Gardner, a North Carolina native who grew up just 7-miles east of Smithfield. This year’s festival, scheduled for October 7-9, will include a multitude of exciting events, and we invite you to join the museum staff and board as we unveil new exhibits, conduct heritage tours, and host special film and video presentations, and much more. The opening night concert is going to be an exciting musical tribute and promises to be a night to remember!!

Your Video Invitation to join us in October...



Friday, October 7 

9am – 5pm         Museum Opens with Unveiling of New Exhibits    

Visitors traveling to Smithfield for the weekend may drop by the museum on Friday to enjoy the new exhibits created for this year's festival. The museum board has many special tributes, events, and exhibits planned throughout the Ava 100th Centennial Celebration and we hope you will return again and again. Admission tickets are $12.00 per person each day or $25 for a 3-day weekend ticket and are available to buy online in advance.    

6:30pm               Cocktail Reception - The Clayton Center

The Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation will be hosting a cash bar prior to the concert in the lobby of The Clayton Center, and guests may also enjoy a piece of Ava's Birthday Cake and light refreshments provided by the Ava Gardner Museum.

7:30pm-9:30pm   A Musical Tribute to Ava Gardner Concert

Join us for a celebration of Ava's life through music! Ava truly loved music from the big band sounds of her second husband, Artie Shaw, to the torch songs that Frank Sinatra was so famous for singing following their break-up. Enjoy this musical tribute to Ava with the NC Revelers Orchestra from Raleigh featuring guest performers John Arthur Greene and Angelique Alexander. This collaboration includes Jonathan Levin, founder of The Clayton Piano Festival, bringing us a medley of Ava's movie songs and much more. Premium reserved seats will be $45 plus fees/taxes and general seating will be $30 plus fees/taxes. Tickets are only available through The Clayton Center box office.

Ava Gardner Festival Concert flyer, for October 7, 2022.

Saturday, October 8

9am – 5pm    Museum Opens with New Exhibits and Special Video Presentations

The museum staff will showcase some new acquisitions and exhibits in the Doris Cannon Library, and visitors to the museum will see the newly renovated main gallery of the museum following the flood of 2021. Additional events and tributes to Ava will continue throughout the remainder of 2022 and her centennial birthday year of 2023. Please continue to follow the Ava Gardner Facebook page and check the website for details.

Heritage Tours will be available beginning at 11am through 3pm. Step on the touring bus with one of the museum's guides and travel to the Brogden Community where Ava was born and raised, just 7 miles east of Smithfield. Other points of interest will be featured in Smithfield, and the group will visit Ava's grave site, Sunset Memorial Park. The tour lasts approximately 1 hour, and will ticket holders will be picked up and dropped off at the museum.

Seats are limited and tickets are available to purchase online with the museum. Times for the heritage tours are: 11am, 1pm, and 3pm.

10am           Dedication Ceremony

Dedication of the Ava Gardner Mural and Rose Garden will be held Saturday morning to share the story behind the project and thank all those that contributed to its success.

5pm                 Film Screening of The Killers

Films will be screened at the Smithfield Cinemas located at 175 S. Equity Drive near Carolina Premium Outlets. Watch Ava’s breakout role as Kitty Collins, in a newly mastered 4K version of The Killers (1946).

7:30pm            Film Screening of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

Cohen films released the Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951) 4K restoration in 2020, and two years later the North Carolina premiere will be during the Ava Gardner Festival.

Sunday, October 9

11am-5pm    Museum Opens with New Exhibits and Special Video Presentation.

Please return on Sunday to continue to enjoy the new exhibits celebrating Ava's 100th Birthday! Special t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other gift shop items will be available all weekend for purchase as well as online.

1:30pm         Film Screening of The Barefoot Contessa

Visitors will enjoy another iconic Ava film, The Barefoot Contessa (1954) on the big screen at Smithfield Cinemas.

Click here to purchase admission tickets to the weekend’s different events.

Revisit this page often as we continue to make more festival announcements.


Can you help support the Festival - click each sponsor level to give online.

Ava Gardner Festival Sponsorships

A Musical Tribute to Ava Gardner, Sponsor - $5,000
The opening night concert at The Clayton Center on Friday, October 7, features the big band sounds of the NC Revelers Orchestra playing Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra classics with special guest, Broadway actor and singer, John Arthur Greene. Jonathan Levin, founder of the Clayton Piano Festival, will perform a selection of Ava’s movie show tunes with jazz vocalist Angelique Alexander. Concert Sponsors receives 4 reserved premium seats, 4 Heritage Tour tickets, 4 admission tickets to the Museum, and special recognition on the museum’s website, logo on event banners, and mentions in all festival publicity.

Fashion Icon Sponsor - $1,000
2 reserved premium seats to the concert, 2 tickets to the Museum for the festival weekend, 2 festival gift bags with T-shirts. Company logo on festival banners, and logo in the concert program Museum website link for 12 months and mentions in all festival publicity.

Hollywood Legend Sponsor - $500
2 tickets to the concert, 1 ticket to the Museum for the festival weekend, 1 festival gift bag with T-shirt. Company logo on festival banners, listing in the concert program and mentions in all festival publicity.

Grabtown Girl Sponsor - $250
1 ticket to the concert on Friday, October 7th. Festival gift bag with T-shirt, and Listing in the concert program and on festival banners.

The Museum is a 501 (c) (3) organization and donations are tax-deductible.

Make Reservations for the Weekend.


Logo for the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC.




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