Frequently Asked Questions

logoUpdated  August 5, 2010    URL is

The 2010 James Dean Festival in Fairmount, Indiana includes:

Thursday night, September 23rd Lions Club car show downtown Fairmount
Friday-Sunday, September 24 and 25th, the entire festival and car show with
        Dance contests, Lookalike Contests and Bands Saturday night
        More music and events throughout the festival.
        A rockabilly area in a new location.
        A huge, spectacular new screen to show all events at the new stage, including bands at the car show.  The new screen is in the new stage area toward the south end of Main Street.
        Car Show awards on Sunday, September 29th.
        MEMORIAL SERVICE on Thursday, September 30th. Gather earlier at Back Creek Friends Meeting for the service which starts at 1:00 PM. Then we walk or drive to the cemetery for more sharing.  Sunday night we may possibly gather at Sirloin Stockade steakhouse in Marion, Indiana (on the bypass) for a Dutch Treat dinner.  Sunday afternoon we visit and sightsee in Fairmount or watch a James Dean film in City Hall presented for free by the Fairmount Historical Society.

What is a Deaner Deaners are people fond of James Dean and avid to learn more about him. Thanks to Sue Pelletier for the term!) Here are some answers to your questions.
Please click on a question

How do I enter the Festival contests?

Show up near the Big Screen one hour or less before the event you will enter. Go to the table below the front of the stage and give your information to someone with a clipboard.  Try to make sure the mamarazzi (Sandra, me,) gets your picture while it is still daylight.  It is almost impossible to move on the midway, to get to the stage.  Allow yourself extra time.  Come around the  back if necessary.

You will enter the stage by going up the back stair.  You will be told when to step onto the stage for your first walk across.  Don’t rush it.  You need to pose for the cameras.  Then you will go out as a group, then leave as a group.

The judges pick the several semi-finalists who go back on stage as a group.  This is another time to pose for the cameras and videotapers.  The judges say that they aren’t influenced by the cheering of the audience.  These contests are really loud.  Bring earplugs for the little lookalikes.

And most important, remember, it is only a contest for fun. Well, and glory.  Laugh it off if you don’t win this year. It is just foolishness and nonsense and a good time.

 When Is This Huge James Dean Festival?

James Dean Fairmount Historical Society festival weekend. This is always the last FULL weekend in September.  In 2010 it is Sept 24, 25th and 26h.

TheJames Dean memorial service is ALWAYS on September 30th. Read details about it on the memorial pages. Brunch used to begin about 11:30 am but I think it was discontinued. The service starts at 1:00 pm. Then we march behind Nicky Bazooka on his motorcycle to Park Cemetery for more ceremony.  (You can drive if you prefer.) Fans who have written poems or songs share  them at the graveside. Sometimes we stay on in Fairmount and get together for supper that night and then go on a nightwalk, led by Mark Kinnaman, or carry candles and walk back to the grave from downtown Fairmount.

How do I register for the car show?   

Good question.  The car show happens on the James Dean Fairmount Historical Society festival weekend. This is always the last FULL weekend in September.  In 2010 it is Sept 24, 25 and 26th.   It’s good to arrive on Friday  if you can.  Otherwise, come Saturday morning.  This is a huge show and you will want to jockey for position.  It may be possible to arrive on Sunday early, and still be judged, but I don’t know for sure. You must preregister. Each car has to drive in under its own steam, no trailering.  But you can trailer from your home to Fairmount.
There is plenty of food for sale on the Playacre Park grounds, and many vendors sell clothes, cars, parts, etc.  There are dances and shirts, celebrities, Sunday awards and pancake/sausage breakfasts for car buffs.  Yum!

Check with the Fairmount Historical Museum’s website for the latest news on how to pre-register, or you could ask David Loehr at or contact Phil Zeigler of Jonesboro. 

Where is the David Loehr’s James Dean Gallery/Museum

 David has closed the Gallery in Gas City for financial reasons.   David Loehr is now headquartered back at his original Gallery location, the huge white Victorian house at 425 North Main Street, where Rebel Rebel is housed!  The James Dean Gift Shop is there, now too

This is not the Fairmount Historical Society Museum.  (That’s in its  same location, 203 East Washington Street in Fairmount.)  Go to the traffic light downtown and then go 1 block east on Washington Street.  That’s the Fairmount Historical Museum. It sponsors the big September Festival which is officially called JAMES DEAN FEST as of 2008!

 Who is this Adeline Nall you write about?

Adeline Mart Nall was Jimmy’s speech teacher at Fairmount High School.  She was the first teacher to encourage him to pursue his passion for acting.  Read about her  in

What or who is Marfa?

Marfa is the name of a city in Texas near the set at which Giant was filmed.  Marfa is a wonderful pilgrimage for Deaners. On the fourth of July 2005 Marfa had a huge party in honor of the 50th anniversary of  James Dean’s death. Meet people who knew Jimmy when he was in Marfa!  Book your rooms today.

Read about one awesome trip to Marfa, photographed and written by Magdalin Leonardo. 

  Questions about James Dean’s motorcycles and about New York City

I don’t know anything about his motorcycles, but thank you for writing to me and reading
His Indiana motorcycle, bought from his neighbor Mr. Carter, at Carter’s Motorcycle Shop, is available for viewing at the Fairmount Historical Museum.

 I just write this site about Fairmount, because it is all I know for sure.     David Loehr used to guide a New York City Walk which visited places Jimmy had been to in NYC.  That page was created by Magdalin Leonardo All prices for the walk are from 1997 and no longer apply. The walk doesn’t happen any moe but we keep hoping.

What is Cholame

Lee Raskin says my pages about Cholame are racked with errors. Please buy and read his books to get the straightest facts!

I have made pages about Cholame, California, (the site of Jimmy’s death) using information sent to me by sharing, caring Deaners.  I am no expert on cars or New York City.  I know almost nothing about the car show at Paso Robles on September 30th.  I think it is every other year.   If you belong to the fan club, you will learn more about California events from Kip Brown’s outstanding column in our outstanding <a href=”/jdr/index.html”>fan magazine, the DeanZine</a>.

Why in the world would an adult join a fan club?

That’s what I used to think, until I became involved in James Dean Remembered, also called James Dean International.  Originated by Silvia Bongiovanni and another fan, WRDI (We Remember Dean International) remained active for many years.  When Silvia wanted to retire, various other fans tried their hand at collecting dues and publishing the quarterly magazine.  We have come a long way now, and the friendships are as loyal as ever. The magazine is now a slick, thicker color production and we have a website at     

We have an active email network so we can get word to all the members when anything happens, either good, bad or neutral.  We don’t miss out on any Dean TV shows.  We know if anyone is sick, married, babied, relocated, appearing in a movie or traveling to Marfa or Cholame.  Here is the response I sent to a movie reviewer who asked me “what’s so great about James Dean”. I tried to make the type face smaller but I couldn’t make it work. 

3 August 2010 from Sandra Weinhardt,

    James Dean matters to history and to his fans because of his uncompromising dedication to his craft, acting.  He expressed emotions in Rebel Without a Cause that most teenagers felt but could not put into words.  He exemplified fear of peers, bewilderment at our parents problems, longing for connection, the extreme highs and lows in our feelings, and more.  Even today, 50% of those polled pick Rebel as their favorite Dean movie, with East of Eden and Giant each getting 25%.

    To this day, people discover his movies and are caught in the admiration web woven since he made his first Hollywood film.  He would not test for small parts once in Hollywood.  He had faith, after years of experience, that he could be a star.  He endured near-starvation, menial jobs, inadequate clothing and all the other pitfalls of striving actors, but he never lost faith in himself.  He wasn’t destroyed by losing his beloved mother in California when he was nine years old.  That is a deal-breaker for many children.  He had loving relatives who reared him on a family farm back in Indiana. His teacher, Adeline Mart Nall, nourished his ambition, guiding him into competing in oratory contests and being part of the group in high school plays. 

    James Dean, “Jimmy” to his fans, didn’t get caught up in drugs as his fame grew. He had been mentored by older actors and he knew that drugs were not the path to take. He lost the love of his life, Pier Angeli, when her mother made her marry Vic Damone. (She later committed suicide.)  She had loved Jimmy, as his fans do to this day, but she could not defy her mother. 

We fans all agree that James Dean would have become a director in Hollywood, eventually.  He was up for the lead in a famous boxing film next, had he not died in his sports car on a badly-marked Highway 41 in California, on his way to race his new Porsche Spyder.

    The Deaners, (Dean’s fans,) are a gentle, strong-willed, caring group of people.   We admire Marilyn Monroe but feel she was a victim throughout her life.  She is an icon of beauty, while Jimmy is our icon of strength who overcame all his misfortunes to share his gift with the world.  He was gentle with anyone who had lost faith in herself or himself, and he kept his sense of humor when others would have caved in. 

Silvia Bongiovanni started a fan club that still exists, James Dean Remembered,  with probably the best fan magazine, the Dean Zine, published.  We fans have the normal desire to collect something.  We collect Dean: merchandise, clothing and the stories of his life.  He is our son or brother, lover or best friend.  We know he would have gone on to succeed in his field in any job he chose, and through him we mourn all the lost dreams of those who died too young.  We are there for each other.  A fan club may seem silly to many people, but Deaners are a real family, forever.  We mourn fans who pass on, we cheer for the marriages among us, and we share our triumphs and disappointments.  We are and will always be ….. Deaners.

Sandra Weinhardt

 Rules of Rock Lasso
Don’t Knit, Knot! Or, The Fairmount Knotters

Okay people, listen up. These are the rules. You take this here rope, see, and you tie a rock on one end. The rope can be a clothesline or a nylon rope. You bend way over and throw your arm some strange way and the rock makes a knot in the rope. The contest is to see who can make the most knots in a short length of time, and who can make three knots, untying after each knot, in the least amount of time.

 Now we take this very, very seriously, so don’t make a sound. Don’t move in their line of vision. Don’t slurp your lemon shakeup. After all, A&E was here filming this for a biography on James Dean.  CBS-TV has filmed it.  German filmmakers have filmed it.  We may not be in the Olympics yet, but we could be some day.

There are a million people who couldn’t make their first knot if they tried for a year. Most of us couldn’t tie up a rock either. And if we did, we’d knock out a tooth. This is a specialized sport. It’s a very short contest, with microseconds making a difference. It is AWESOME. All hail our James Dean rock lasso knotters.  The contest is held early on a Saturday morning, maybe around 9:00 or 10:00.  I am not there in time to photograph it, since I stopped driving. 

Bob Hinkle taught the rock lasso to James Dean when Bob was Jimmy’s dialog coach during the filming of Giant in Marfa, Texas.

Where did this huge come from?

I’m Sandra Weinhardt.  When the internet became available in the small city where I lived in 1996, I made a personal website, Lincoln’s Doctor’s Dog’s Homepage or How To Stay Sane In A Small Town.  One section advised everyone to take a trip to Fairmount, Indiana to learn about James Dean.

My husband’s Aunt Elsie Haindl was married to  Joe the Butch, a much-loved character who owned a butcher shop with  Elsie when Jimmy was growing up in Fairmount.  I had spent a lot of time in Fairmount too, but not until the early 1970s.

Everything stemmed from that.  I finally found my calling in life.  Each of my pages in grew from an email from a fan.  I still have many pictures and details to add to from the many kind Dean fans who have emailed me.  The site has taken over my life.  It is almost the only thing I do.  My husband cooks and brings my meals to me at my computer. 

I receive no compensation.  This annoys my husband a lot.  He also has to drive me to events and tote my photography equipment.  I have no training with software so I work very slowly.  Housework?  When the interest in Jimmy has been satisfied for everyone in the world, I’ll do housework.  However, if you want to come here and do laundry, vacuum, run errands, tidy up, clean the bird cage, etc. you would be welcome, ‘though  I can’t pay you. 

I have several other magazines, all unpaid.  They are sadly neglected because is my life now. The are listed at I have a Rockabilly and Roots music e-magazine called   , the website for the Geneva home of Gene Stratton-Porter (an Indiana State Historic Site), Opine: an opinion e-magazine, now combined with my Nostalgia: an e-magazine about Kustom cars and life in small towns. 

I am always very, very, very tired.

logoClick Jimmy to link out to the main index.

Send your questions to

My logo graphics are by our good friend, U.S. Army veteran Mark Kinnaman of Fairmount, Indiana.