Town of Amherst Arts Consultant Charlie Rhindress will hold a series of public meetings in January to gather more ideas and support for The Great Amherst Mystery Project

The Great Amherst Mystery is the true story of Esther Cox, an eighteen year old Amherst resident, who made international headlines in 1878 when she became the centre of a bizarre series of supernatural events.

Part of this project will be the creation of Esther Fest, a celebration of Amherst and its paranormal past.  The centrepiece of the Festival will be a new production of Rhindress’s play, “Guilty! The Story of the Great Amherst Mystery,” as well as three weeks of paranormal related activities.

In addition to Esther Fest there are also plans underway to create a series of events throughout the year, using the title, “Great Amherst.” These events might be an evening of “Great Amherst Singers,” or a week long show of “Great Amherst Artists,” for instance.

Rhindress and the Town are currently gathering ideas and gauging public interest. There will be three meetings to get public input about the project. All meetings will be at the Community Credit Union Business and Innovation Centre (old Town Hall) on Ratchford St. from 7 to 9 pm.

On January 11 there will be a meeting of local artists and arts groups. There will be a presentation about current ideas for the Festival and then a discussion with those present about how they might take part.

There will be a similar meeting for the business community on January 17. It is hoped that local businesses will see the potential in this Festival and begin to discuss ways in which they might take part to the benefit of their operations.

There will be another meeting for the general public on February 1. This will give anyone who missed the first meeting last November a chance to share their ideas.

Rhindress hopes that the local arts groups and businesses get behind the project and see its potential to attract tourists and become an economic generator for the town.