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TOONFEST 2005, a free public festival featuring a gathering of some of the world’s best-known cartoonists, will be held on Sept. 16-17 in Marceline, Missouri, the childhood hometown of Walt Disney.

The event, open to the general public, will feature several cartoonists, including Cincinnati resident Tom Wilson, artist for the nationally syndicated comic, ZIGGY, and president of Cleveland based Ziggy & Friends, Inc. Walt Disney has particular significance for Wilson and ZIGGY this year, as ZIGGY will make his animated debut in Ziggy’s Gift, a holiday special DVD to be released by BFS Multimedia Entertainment this Fall. Ziggy’s Gift, a hand-drawn animated feature, shows Disney’s multimedia influence as Ziggy arrives on screen 68 years after Walt Disney’s first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which was released to the public in 1937.

Wilson will be on hand for meet and greet autographs, drawing demonstrations and speaking engagements. He will speak at the Marceline Uptown Theater on Fri., Sept. 16 at 12:30PM to a student (high school, college) audience and on Sat., Sept. 17 at 3:20 to the general public audience about his personal accounts of the influence Disney and the town of Marceline has had on the life and times of ZIGGY.

Joining Wilson for the Toonfest tribute is a multitude of talented cartoonists, who will gather at Marceline’s vintage Uptown Theater for a feature panel to interact with audiences. Guests will include Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Jim Borgman (co-creator of the comic strip “Zits”), Glenn and Gary McCoy (“Flying McCoys” and “The Duplex”), Tony Baxter (Senior Vice President of Creative Development at Walt Disney Imagineering), Tom Richmond (Mad Magazine cartoonist), and Charles Solomon, an internationally recognized animation critic.