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      Marceline celebrates Walt Disney's legacy and cartoonists at Toonfest

      The weather was sunny and pleasant as people lined up and down on Main Street USA in Marceline Saturday morning for the 15th annual Toonfest.

      People came to celebrate the art of cartooning and animation. In addition to the parade which passed along Main Street USA, there was tons of family fun activities took place in Marceline's Ripley Park, including Princess Tea Party, the Pirates Adventure, the Barnyard Olympics which include sack races, hammering a nail and finding candy in a haystack, train rides, vendors and food.

      There was also live musical performances, a silent auction, cartoon exhibits from more than 40 professional cartoonists and demonstrations from guests cartoonists.

      The cartoonists offered insight to their creative processes and demonstrated their techniques to the public at the Uptown Theatre in Marceline where Walt Disney premiered "The Great Locomotive Chase" in 1956 and the world premiere of "The Spirit of Mickey" was in 1998.

      Organizers say they do this in tribute to Marceline's influence on their hometown son Walt Disney and in turn, Disney's influence on the cartooning medium and the world.

      ??Walt Disney said more things happened to him in Marceline than what happened to him the rest of his life," Kaye Malins, Toonfest Committee member said. ??When people come to Marceline from all over the world, they want to share what walt felt as a child. It??s what they feel when they walk in Main Street USA in Disneyland. Marceline is the original Main Street USA.??

      But not only was this celebration about Walt Disney and the legacy he left in Marceline. It??s also celebrating the achievements of today??s cartoon artists as well.

      "It??s the art of cartooning we want to keep alive. Walt??s memory is very important to us. we live it every single day here in Marceline. When people come here, they get it. we are inspiring cartoonists for generations to come. That??s what we are about,?? Malins said.

      As always, the Disney Hometown Museum, located in the former Santa Fe Railroad Depot, was opened to tell the story of the years Walt Disney lived in Marceline, how the town influenced his creativity and what the future holds for the Disney magic in north central Missouri.

      Now if you missed out on this year??s Toonfest, no need to worry. Toonfest is held every year on the third Saturday in September and will come back once again next year.

      For more information on Toonfest and Marceline, visit www.toonfest.net or call (660) 376-WALT (9258).