The first day of the festival will culminate with Beatles music and fireworks.
By L. CROW
YOUNGSTOWN -- Sixty music and dance groups and 53 artists will be a big part of the seventh annual Summer Festival of the Arts on Saturday and next Sunday on and near Youngstown State University.
The festival is presented by YSU, The Arts Council of Youngstown and Mahoning County and Wick Neighbors Inc.
It features numerous local arts organizations and artists from Ohio and seven other states. It includes all forms of art, from music and dance, painting and sculpture, jewelry, textiles, crafts, fireworks and a 5K run.
"This festival makes the arts accessible to anybody," says Lori Factor, coordinator of the event. "There truly is something for everyone."
Hours for the festival are from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Music and dance groups performing throughout the weekend will include The Youngstown Connection, The Youngstown Area Community Concert Band and The Harambee Dancers.
The Festival of Nations will showcase groups representing Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Hispanic cultures and many others. There will be traditional foods, costumes, maps, memorabilia and performances, such as the Red Hawks, a American Indian dance group.
The participating artists were accepted by jury and will have their works available for sale. Local artist Marcie Roepke Applegate has been involved in the festival for about five years and looks forward to it every summer.
"The summer festival has grown into a great downtown venue with lots of positive, creative energy," Applegate said.
"As a local artist, it's reassuring to have the community's support," she said. "I am able to promote my silver clay jewelry classes and sell my silver and fused glass jewelry. I've established a following of customers that enjoy the whole festival atmosphere -- and the YSU campus is the perfect setting for it."
In addition, a new presence this year will be a tent showcasing other area arts organizations that aren't performing.
"We invited other arts entities, such as Opera Western Reserve so they would have an opportunity to promote their group and get information to the public," Factor said.
"Some of the others include the Monday Musical Club, The Youngstown Area Community Theater Alliance and Pig Iron Press. 'It's all about the arts,' is the motto for the festival," she said.
There will be a variety of activities for children of all ages.
"Sandy Ciminero has come up with some creative age-appropriate crafts for kids, so the 2-year olds can have things to do along with the 12-year olds," Factor said. They can decorate nurses' caps at YSU's Melnick Medical Museum.
Other YSU participants include the Maag Library, which will hold a book sale. The Ward Beecher Planetarium staff will have telescopes set up to show people how to safely view the sun. Children's craft activities will be at The Butler Institute of American Art, and people can attend the film festival and exhibit at The McDonough Art Museum.
"And the Smith Mineral Museum in Moser Hall, College of Engineering, will conduct tours," Factor said. "They have some beautiful rocks and precious gems."
There also will be a silent auction as a fund-raiser for the Arts Council. Each artist that was accepted into the festival was asked to donate an object, so there will be more than 50 items available at the auction.
One relatively new event at the festival is the 5K run. The 2nd Annual Smoky Hollow 5K Run and Family Fun Walk will have a new twist this year. All participants will be treated to a brunch at The MVR restaurant, which will include live music (an Irish band), plus the awards ceremony for the runners. Anyone may attend the brunch, but only 5K participants will get in free. This event was put together by Wick Neighbors Inc., a nonprofit development corporation whose goal is to redevelop the Smoky Hollow area, slated to begin in 2006.
During the festival, Wick Avenue will be closed from Service Avenue to just north of the Wick Avenue parking deck. The festival will spread across one end of the campus to the other from Fifth Avenue to Smoky Hollow.
"There will be eight performance venues," Factor said. "And the festival is free."
One event is the "Forte on the 50" concert, taking place on the Dike Beede football field, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
"For those who don't get it, forte is a music term meaning 'loud,' and 50 stands for the 50-yard line," said Pam Palumbo, director of events management for YSU. The Dana All-Star Band, consisting of students, alumni and faculty, about 50 strong, will open the show, this year called "Music from the Stage and Screen."
"They will close with a medley called 'Armed Forces Salute,' and 'Stars and Stripes Forever,' as they do every year," Palumbo said.
At 8:30 p.m. the Come Together Beatles tribute band will play.
They are musicians from Western Pennsylvania who have just about every Beatles song in their repertoire, Palumbo said.
"They do songs from the very early Beatles, like 'I Want to Hold Your Hand,' on through 'Sgt. Pepper' and so on," she said. "They particularly focus on the John Lennon songs."
The concert will end with a show by Phantom Fireworks. "They always provide something new and special," Palumbo said.
"Every year you think 'this is the best, they can't possibly do better,' and then the next year, they do," she said. "It is just amazing."
The cost of the concert is $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. Children's tickets must be purchased at the festival, and adult tickets are $2 off if purchased there. Adult tickets may also be purchased in advanced, and there are coupons and discounts available.
See www.ysu.edu/forte for information and coupons.