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Jim Causley Buick
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Peter Pan with Wendy and her brothers was created by Walt Disney artist Mary Blair and is on display at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House through Sept. 1 as part of the Neverland Adventure. Courtesy Walt Disney Animation Research Library and the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House

June 26, 2014
Watch out!

A pirate ship will weigh anchor at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House shoreline Saturday, June 28, from which Captain Hook, Mr. Smee and sword-wielding pirates will disembark.

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The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House will display more than 40 orginal concept art by Walt Disney artist Mary Blair who worked on the 1953 film "Peter Pan." Courtesy Walt Disney Animation Research Library and the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
Captain Hook will be scouting for his nemesis, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys who will be frolicking on the grounds between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In the fourth consecutive year of staging a fairy tales festival, the Ford House this year features Peter Pan and asks visitors to go on a Neverland Adventure with Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook and all the other characters from the story.

The day will be filled with treasure hunts, fairy dust sprinklings, story telling and interaction between visitors and characters from J.M. Barrie's novel, "Peter and Wendy," that Walt Disney turned into the 1953 animated movie, "Peter Pan."

The Walt Disney Research Library loaned 40 original concept pieces of art by concept artist Mary Blair to display to round out the event.

Blair was one of Disney's favorite artists, Ford House's communication specialist Sarah Tuxbury said. Blair also created the character designs for "It's a Small World" and a 90-foot mosaic mural inside Disney's Contemporary Resort. She created the concept art for "Cinderella," "Lady and the Tramp" and "Alice in Wonderland." Alice was the focus of the 2013 fairy tale festival. But it's Blair's vision of the Peter Pan characters that make the story recognizable to modern day visitors.

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Blair's exhibit, "Creating Neverland: The Art of Disney's Mary Blair" opens Saturday, June 28, and will be on display between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, through Monday, Sept. 1. Admission is included in the Ford House ticket.

"The images are so great, so colorful, vibrant," said Ann Fitzpatrick, Ford House vice president of communications.

When the Ford House gates swing open that morning, visitors will be walking into 19th century London, and then into Neverland. Be alert. Pirates will have landed and might give unsuspecting children a lesson in sword fighting and make them take the pirate's oath. A child can make a wand similar to Tinkerbell's and pretend to be trapped in a life-size lantern in Josephine's playhouse.

There will be a rock climbing wall and a trampoline to learn how to fly, both courtesy of the Lost Boys.

Armed with a treasure map, children can visit marked stations and earn a prize at the end of the treasure hunt.

There also will be a photo booth with props for young visitors to dress up like one of the book's characters or they can watch as an artist creates shadow drawings or talk with a mermaid swimming in the lagoon. Every half hour Grosse Pointe Theatre and Motor City Youth Theatre provide vignettes from the book originally written as a play in 1904. The Lost Boys' Lair offers an opportunity for families to read together and they assist visitors in climbing a rock wall.

Advance tickets cost $12, or $15 at the door. This year, the Ford House is offering a family four-pack for $40. It includes four admission tickets and four Dearborn Sausage Co. hot dogs.

Related activities

Five activities centering around the Peter Pan theme include:

What makes reptiles tick? — 10 a.m. Saturday, July 26. Learn about the science of reptiles. The cost is $8 for Ford House members and $10 for non-members.

Pirates and fairies fun run — 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8. The adult event is chip timed and prizes are awarded to top finishers in each group. Character costumes can be worn. The cost is $30.

Peter Pan's flight academy — 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23. The Wind-jammers Kite Team helps families build and decorate a kite. The cost is $8 for Ford House members and $10 for non-members.

Neverland's wonderful weekends — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, June 29 through Aug. 31. Explore Neverland through crafts, activities and meet characters from Peter Pan. Admission is included in the Ford House ticket.

Captain Hook's pirate quest — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 29 through Aug. 31. Pick up a treasure map at the visitor center, follow the clues around the Ford House grounds and solve riddles. Admission is included in the Ford House ticket price.

For more information, visit ford

house.org or call (313) 884-4222. The Ford House is located at 1100 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe Shores.

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