Preparations nearly complete for Hunter S. Thompson memorial service on Saturday

The remarkable life of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson will be celebrated by an invitation-only crowd of his closest friends on Saturday at Owl Farm, Thompson’s 42-acre property in Woody Creek, Colorado, near Aspen. In keeping with the final farewell Thompson requested in a BBC interview, his cremated remains have been sealed with fireworks into mortar tubes that will be shot from a 153-foot-tall fiberglass replica of the author’s famous Gonzo fist. The world-renowned Zambelli Fireworks company is in charge of the launching the ashes. Company spokeswoman Marcy Zambelli told CBS News that the fireworks will fly at sunset, and will explode 300 feet in the air “with a white flourish.” Then Thompson’s ashes will fall to rest on the farm he loved and called his “psychic anchor.” Matt Moseley, spokesman for Owl Farm, promises that the launching of Hunter’s ashes from the giant Gonzo fist “with the full moon rising over Woody Creek, [. . .] will be the most fantastic celebration happening on the planet.”

Johnny Depp, who played Hunter Thompson in the film adaptation of Thompson’s classic FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, is paying the tab for his dear friend’s sendoff. Costs of the memorial, including the construction of the temporary Gonzo fist monument which is two feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, are now estimated to top $2 million. Matt Moseley told Jeff Kass of the Rocky Mountain News that, in addition to the Gonzo Fist cannon, workers are also constructing a bar to comfortably accommodate up to 400 mourners. “Think of Hunter’s favorite place where he would love to entertain all his very best friends,” Moseley explained, adding that the wooden bar will have chandeliers, Thompson memorabilia, and a “lounge atmosphere.” Lyle Lovett and former Nitty Gritty Dirt Band singer/guitarist Jimmy Ibbotson will perform at the memorial. Anita Thompson, Hunter’ widow, will be presenting copies of her husband’s books as gifts to attendees.

Although there is tremendous public interest in the event, the Thompson family stresses that the memorial is private. “Please respect that this is a private event for people who were close to Hunter and his family,” Moseley told Troy Hooper of the Aspen Daily News. Moseley believes that the late journalist would “be damn proud” of Saturday’s memorial. “There’s a lot of love going around with the people who are involved with this. It really brings out how much people respected him and his substantive contributions to America, which were in literature, justice and friendship.”

The Johnny Depp Zone will honor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson all day Saturday with tribute threads on the Porch and a special celebration on ONBC. The Zone’s book club is preparing to read Thompson’s FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS next month; Liz and DeppintheHeartofTexas invite all of Hunter’s admirers to join the Noodlemantras on a “savage journey into the heart of the American dream.” There is no better way to honor Hunter S. Thompson’s memory than by reading his work, and we thank Liz and DITHOT for helping the Zone to give a proper farewell salute to the good doctor. We also thank emma and Reemi for posting articles about Hunter’s memorial on the News & Views forum.