Festival mixes fun, highbrow entertainment

Tthe Vindicator

Youngstown State University’s 11th annual Summer Festival of the Arts is this weekend. At least 15,000 people are expected to attend the two-day celebration of the arts on the YSU campus.

“The Summer Festival of the Arts is the one event in the Valley where everything revolves around the arts — the fine arts as well as the performing arts,” said Lori Factor, festival coordinator. “Add in the many cultural presentations, exhibits and interactive activities and this is a truly one-of-a-kind event.”

Forte on the Fifty, the annual music and fireworks extravaganza in Stambaugh Stadium, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. It will feature a performance by the YSU Dana School of Music All-Star Band at 7:30 followed by an 8:30 concert by 2nd Avenue Project, a Las Vegas-style show band.

Fireworks by B.J. Alan-Phantom Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are free at area Handel’s locations; the Boardman and Youngstown Phantom Fireworks stores; the Ice Zone; and during the Summer Festival of the Arts until 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets will be available at the gate for $10.

SFA hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission and parking are free. For more information, go to ysu.edu/sfa.

The heart of the festival is the artists’ marketplace, at which more than 60 artists sell original, hand-crafted pieces, including jewelry, paintings, sketches, sculptures, glass, wood and textiles. Artists’ work has been juried, or selected, from among all of the applicants.

Family activities include the hands-on art tent where children can create artwork under the guidance of a professional teacher.

The SFA also includes more than 60 musical, dance and theatrical performances, participation and activities by local cultural and religious organizations, the Festival of Nations ethnic fair and the Smoky Hollow 5K Run and One-Mile Family Fun Walk.

Several other festivals and special events held by cultural organizations and churches on the edges of campus run concurrently with the SFA. They include the Arms Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, McDonough Museum of Art, Melnick Medical Museum, St. John’s Episcopal Church, The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County and the Museum of Industry and Labor. Companion events also include the Tour of the Valley Bike Race and St. Nicholas Greek Summerfest.

“We’ve always welcomed and supported those organizations that want to participate during the Arts Festival,” said Factor. “We have good neighbors in the community and our missions are alike, so it makes perfect sense to schedule our events the same weekend.”

New for this year is the Eco Art Contest, designed to encourage artists of any ability to create an artwork out of recycled and repurposed materials. A People’s Choice Award will determine the winner.

In the performance areas, newcomers to the festival include Bel Duetto, the combo of former Miss Ohio Amanda Beagle and her husband, Craig Raymaley; and World of Children, a children’s singing group that also signs its songs. Lyrical Shakedown and J.D. Eicher and the Goodnights are also newcomers.

Carmen Leone, who authored “Rose Street: A Family Story,” will conduct a free workshop titled “Writing Your Family History” at 10 a.m. Saturday in Maag Library’s third floor caf on the YSU campus. No advance registration is needed.

Also, an introductory kayaking clinic will be held from 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the Beeghly Center Pool on the campus. Participants will be taught basic information on dressing to paddle safely, potential hazards and simple self-rescue techniques. The cost is $10 and includes use of a personal floatation device, paddle and kayak. Participants may also bring their own gear but in any case, should have a swimsuit and towel.

Preregistration is required either in person at the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center or between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Andrews Center information table outside of Kilcalwey Center. For more information, go to ysu.edu/reccenter.

SEE ALSO: Exhibit picks SFA as one of six sites and Summer Festival of the Arts Entertainment Schedule.

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