Emmy-winning actor returns to Kansas to be honored at Oskaloosa Old Settler’s Festival

photo by: Associated Press

James Reynolds poses in the press room with the award for outstanding lead actor in a drama series for "Days of Our Lives" at the 45th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center on Sunday, April 29, 2018, in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Fans of the NBC Soap Opera “Days of Our Lives” will want to make it out to Oskaloosa’s Old Settler’s Festival on Saturday, when the town will be honoring actor James Reynolds.

Reynolds, who grew up in Oskaloosa and attended college in Topeka, won the Daytime Emmy this year for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Daytime Drama.

“For a small town to have an actor period is just crazy, and it’s exciting and it’s very rare, I would say,” festival organizer Matt Miller said. “For him to win this Emmy makes it even more special.”

At the festival, Reynolds, 71, will be honored as grand marshal and will be presented with a proclamation by Oskaloosa Mayor Eric Hull, Miller said. Reynolds will then emcee the event with Miller.

“You know how many people get this kind of wonderful opportunity?” Reynolds said of being honored at Old Settler’s. “I feel quite honored, to be truthful, that this is happening.”

Reynolds looks back on his childhood in Oskaloosa fondly. As a kid, he would spend his days outside exploring the small town, he said. Old Settler’s, which is in its 117th year, was always a special event for Reynolds.

“When I was a kid, it was like Christmas,” he said.

Growing up in the town of about 1,000 people 22 miles north of Lawrence, Reynolds had many interests, but acting wasn’t among them. It didn’t become one until one of his friends at Washburn University in Topeka told him to audition at the theater department to meet girls.

“I fell in love, not with a woman, but with the theater,” Reynolds said.

His passion for acting propelled him to where he is now, acting in his 37th year as Abe Carver on “Days of Our Lives” and embracing the opportunity to revisit his hometown this weekend.

“I think in general for anybody, wherever they are, it’s important to stay in touch with their roots because it’s a formative time of life,” he said. “I find myself understanding the value of those experiences more as time goes on.”

The festival started on Thursday and will continue through Saturday, with entertainment provided each evening from bands in the area. Lawrence band Party Party will play on Saturday night.

The festival also includes a carnival with wristbands for $22, a 5K fun run and frog and turtle races.

The parade honoring Reynolds is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in downtown Oskaloosa.


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