COLUMBIA — In an eclectic flurry of dance, music, literature, arts and crafts, the Columbia Festival of the Arts will commence its 17th annual celebrations on Courthouse Square this weekend.
When: From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Where: Boone County Courthouse Square between Seventh, Ninth, Ash and Walnut streets, one block north of Broadway.
Weather: Sunny and mostly clear in the high 70s and low 80s on both Saturday and Sunday.
Parking: Free in the garages at Eighth and Cherry streets and Walnut and Seventh streets and in city parking lots on Eighth, Ninth and Ash streets. Meters must be paid on Saturday.
Art: 50 visual artists will show and sell ceramics, drawings, fiber and wood pieces, glass, jewelry, metal works, mixed media, paintings, photography and sculptures.
Courthouse Square stage: Saturday's main attraction will be dance. Must-sees include Dancing Wheels (featured in Vox's latest issue), funk dancing by I Am Kenny J and Olé Music and Dance of Spain. Sunday's schedule centers on music, featuring Caribbean, Japanese and African drumming.
Literary arts stage: State Poet Laureate Walter Bargen will read from his work alongside other poetry, fiction and non-fiction writers. Matt Mason, poet and performer, is a new face this year.
Children's stage: Puppetry and comedy acts will run all weekend, including one-handed juggling by Dale Jones Comedy, storytelling by Bobby Norfolk and interactive drumming by Universal Drum Appeal.
Performance times for all stages can be found on the festival Web site.
Awards: Best of Show and the Commission on Cultural Affairs Award of Merit will be chosen Saturday morning. Boone County Art Show winners will be announced late Saturday night.
History: The first festival in 1992 featured mostly local artists and organizations. The Office of Cultural Affairs was new in city government and its members wanted to make Columbia citizens more aware of the arts. This year, 50 artists — from Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota — will exhibit.