The 13th incarnation of the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts offers something for everyone, from children to seniors, with every kind of taste in art, crafts, dance, music and food.
"We believe in having everything represented – folk art, fine art, fine crafts, music, dance, poetry, puppetry, circus performances," said the festival's chairman, Joe DiPasquale. "We believe in inclusivity, that art can be part of our everyday lives, and that people can express themselves in so many different ways."
The free festival will be held, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Dozens of singers, musicians, dancers and other performers will appear on four stages, and some 170 crafters and artisans will sell their wares in the Artists Market. More than 85 percent of the artisans are from Western New York, organizers say, and they will sell baskets, photos, prints, paintings, pottery, sculpture, fiber art, clothing, toys and jewelry, as well as creations in glass, leather, metal, wood and paper.
A Festival Cafe will offer a wide variety of food and drink, more than 50 not-for-profit groups will operate booths and tables in Cultural and Environmental Row, and five hands-on activity tents will draw youngsters to the Kidsfest part of the festival.
"We're trying to bring people together in a down-to-earth kind of way and make people from all walks of life feel comfortable," says DiPasquale. "Some festivals and events are geared to a certain age set ... we've always just tried to make it so that there's something for every age group."
The festival's complete schedule of events can be found at eafa.techriver.net. Here are some highlights:
*From 10 to 10:45 a.m. Saturday, the festival's Teen Band Contest winner Casey Bolles, a 16-year-old singer-songwriter from Grand Island, will perform on the Lafayette stage. "The professionals that are on the committee feel like he's got talent to really take it somewhere," says DiPasquale. Organizers describe his style as "acoustic pop with elements of folk and rock music."
*At the same time and day on the 7-11 stage, Les Amis Fencing Club will demonstrate the classical style of French foil fencing.
*Bolles will be followed throughout the day on the Lafayette stage by Reynold Scott and Company, Antoinette, the Backpeddlers, Tom Stahl and the Dangerfields, Alison Pipitone, Neville Francis and Riddim Posse and Driftwood.
*Starting at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Driftwood will kick off an after-hours concert on the Lafayette stage, followed by One World Tribe at 7.
*Dancers will take over the Lafayette stage on Sunday, with ballet, Middle Eastern, modern and other troupes performing, including traditional Native American dancers Neto at 12:45 p.m.
*Daughters of Creative Sound, nine women of African descent, will provide music, songs, movement, percussion and storytelling from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Sunday on the 7-11 stage.
*The Dance Tent will feature danceable music all day both days, with tango and swing dance demonstrations on Saturday and yoga to drums from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Sunday.
*Street performers will provide many types of music on both days, with Jimyn the Singing Mime entertaining at 1 p.m. Saturday on the east side of Auburn Avenue.
*The focus of this year's Kidsfest is the Wonderful World of Water, with crafts, games, exhibits and face-painting in five tents on both days. Youngsters will decorate a 90-foot-long banner that they will carry in the Kidsfest parade, which will start at 4 p.m. Sunday at Elmwood and Breckenridge. The parade will be led by the 1 2/8 Path Band, the Gaia Tribe of Ilya's Bellydance Studio, and puppetmaker Franklin LaVoie, who will lead a fleet of puppets and sea vessels.