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Transformation coming soon, Seneca Falls to Bedford Falls

Zuzu will be back. So will young Violet Bick and Tommy Bailey.

It’s the time of the year when Seneca Falls transforms into Bedford Falls from the classic Frank Capra holiday movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

The annual Wonderful Life Festival will be Dec. 13-15 in the place many people here are convinced was the setting for Capra’s 1946 movie. Capra drove through the village en route to visiting relatives in Auburn in the 1940s, reportedly getting his hair cut at Tommy Bellissima’s Barber Shop and taking note of the canal running through the middle of the village, one of several similarities between Seneca Falls and Bedford Falls.

Capra died in 1991 without saying if Seneca Falls was his inspiration for Bedford Falls. His granddaughter, Monica Capra Hodges, will come to Seneca Falls for the festival, as will Mary Owen, daughter of actress Donna Reed, who played Mary Bailey in the movie.

Karolyn Grimes, who played little Zuzu Bailey in the movie, has been here every year since the festival began. Jeanine Roose, who played Violet Bick, will be here, as will Jimmy Hawkins, who played Tommy Bailey.

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