BY MARY WICOFF
If you’re looking for a family-friendly event this weekend, how about an old-fashioned day in the park? The 25th annual Arts in the Park will be Saturday and Sunday in Lincoln Park, featuring 65 artists, numerous entertainers, food and children’s activities.
The sidewalk chalk competition is back by popular demand. The event will start at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Logan Avenue sidewalk. Judging starts at 10:30 a.m., with prizes awarded in four age groups.
Adding to the festivities is the fact that Arts in the Park is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
“I’m very excited about it,” said Lisa Richter, president of the Arts in the Park board. “It’s a great thing for Danville and promoting Danville in a positive light.”
It’s an old-fashioned day in the park, she said, noting, “A lot of people will come in the morning and stay all day.”
People can enjoy the art, watch the children’s theater, sample the food and listen to music. The point of the event, she added, is to introduce art to the people and to incorporate art into their lives.
“The arts are so strong in this town,” Richter said, adding Danville helped form who she is today as someone active in the performing arts.
Andrea Calamari, a longtime board member who’s in charge of the artist lineup, said the 65 artists are coming in from across the country and will offer a variety of styles in different forms, such as metal, glass, wood and photography.
“I think the selection is going to be awesome,” she said.
As part of the 25th anniversary, the board will recognize the artists by posting notices on each booth, indicating how long the artist has been participating, she said.
Richter said the board won’t be doing any specific activities to mark the anniversary, but rather, there will be an overall air of celebration.
“We’re revamping things to make it fresh for the 25th,” she said.
For example, the children’s area, in the past, has focused on crafts. This year, different artists will give presentations, and the children will try to duplicate that artwork.
“This is a little more artsy,” Richter said, and the children can tap into their artistic side.
Suzie Berkes, an artist and teacher at Danville High School, is chairman of the children’s tent. Her talents as a teacher and artist are perfect in that role, and she can help teach children how to do art.
Also, Richter said, the website will have photos from past events to help celebrate the anniversary.
Another attraction is Art on Wheels, a car show that features more than 125 vehicles each year along with 1950s and ‘60s music.
Visitor to the park also may check out the Lamon House — one of the oldest homes still standing in Danville — in the northwest corner of the park.
Richter said there was no way of knowing how many people actually attend the two-day event, but was sure the number would be in the “high hundreds.”
The event is free, and that helps attract people. Families come to watch their children perform on stage, while others come to look at and buy artwork, or to hear music, such as the Danville Symphony Orchestra.
The symphony orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, presenting a summer concert under the direction of Jeremy Swerling.
This free concert will feature an exploration of the connection between sports and music. Bill Black, Ward 7 alderman and former state representative, will narrate the words of the famous Ernest Thayer poem “Casey at the Bat.”
In addition, Jean-Baptiste Arban’s “Carnival of Venice” is a virtuoso showpiece featuring Rob Waugh on trumpet. Mendelssohn’s “Nocturne from Midsummer Night’s Dream” will showcase the orchestra’s sensitivity.
Concert attendees also will enjoy patriotic favorites, including: “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Armed Forces Salute,” and “From Sea to Shining Sea.”
In the event of rain, the concert will be moved to the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at Danville High School.
10 a.m. — Mike Harmon
11 a.m. — Laurel School of Dance
Noon — Red Mask Players
1 p.m. — Sweet Adelines
2 p.m. — Marilyn’s Danceworks
3 p.m. — Chris Bontjes
4 p.m. — Wabash Valley Area Band
5:30 p.m. — Army Band
8 p.m. — Danville Symphony Orchestra
11 a.m. — Taylor Wolfe
Noon — Benny Jenkins Bloodline
1 p.m. — Lincoln Park Theater Company
2 p.m. — Dave, Doc and the Root Canals
3 p.m. — Dave, Doc and the Root Canals
4 p.m. — Danville Barbershop Chorus
5 p.m. — Danville Light Opera
6:30 p.m. — Danville Municipal Band
For a list of artists and other details, go to http://www.artsintheparkdanville.org.
Artists’ booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Lincoln Park; entertainment on the stage will go on all day.