A multi-million dollar piece of Happy Birthday history went on display in the small community of Luseland Monday.
The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe during her famous 1962 performance of Happy Birthday for then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy was purchased by Saskatchewan-born billionaire Jim Pattison in 2016.
“It’s part of history, and Marilyn herself was truly a very special person that everyone in the world seems to know about,” said fan Nancy Avonhurst.
Crowe, a self-described mega fan, drove nearly two hours from her home in Avonhurst and waited in a brief line to get up close with her idol.
“It’s really a dream come true. I can’t believe I’ve had this opportunity, I’m just a little ol’ nurse from nowhere and here’s Marilyn’s dress that’s come all this way,” she said.
At that time, the dress fetched $4.81 million at auction. Pattison bought it for the Ripley’s Entertainment division of his multi-company business empire.
Pattison was born in Luseland before his family moved to British Columbia when he was five years old.
“Privileged and honoured to be the first place in Canada for the viewing of this dress,” said Luseland Mayor Len Schlosser.
Residents in the community of about 600 people lined up Monday morning to see the dress, which was there for one day only.
Neil and Lois Nysetvold drove in from Chauvin, Alta.,
“I have been sewing for 50 years – dresses are my thing,” said Lois, a former Home Economics teacher.
“I will never, ever, as close to anything that expensive in my life.”
The dress served a dual purpose, a BBQ held today to mark its arrival was a fundraiser for the Luseland pool.
There are plans to update and repair change rooms, add more swimming lanes and a waterslide.
Luseland is located north of Kindersley, about 50 kilometres east of the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.