City sets up for Arts in the Alley

Downtown Grove City will be a sea of color and sound Sept. 20-21 with the 29th annual Arts in the Alley festival presented by the Chamber of Commerce.

A Community Parade kick-offs the event-filled weekend at 9:30 a.m., Sept. 20, on Broadway at Southwest Boulevard. The parade winds its way south on Broadway, moves east on Columbus Street and ends at Wilbur Avenue.

Juried art shows throughout the area include entries featuring photography, quilting, crafts, fine arts, and youth art. Awards are given in category for Best of Show and People’s Choice, along with a Mayor’s Award and the Helena McComb Award.

"We’ve been a lot stricter this year with the juried show," said Bill Diehl, executive director of the Grove City Chamber of Commerce, "and it’s important to maintain that level of quality. As a result of gas prices, we also have a lot more new, regional artists who are staying closer to home.

"There are over 110 booths and more food concessions and some of the artists are doing demonstrations this year. The kid’s area will have a lot of activities, such as the Jackson Township fire safety house, and make-and-take art. We spend thousands of dollars on the make-and-take supplies and we couldn’t do any of this without our special sponsors and volunteers."

The fourth annual McComb Floral Award is a $500 prize presented by the McComb family in memory of the festival co-founder to an Arts in the Alley entry featuring flowers and is in addition to any other show award. Nominations are made by the panel of fine arts judges and the award winner is determined by the McComb family.

Fine art categories include two-dimensional, flat, hangable artwork such as paper/fragile and durable art and three-dimensional works that can be displayed on a table or floor.

Awards will be presented to Best of Show in either category; first, second, or third place in each category; Judge’s Choice with three honorable mentions in either grouping; and the People’s Choice Award in either category. Ballots will be collected from the viewing public until 2 p.m. on Sept. 21 and the winner will be announced at an Award and Recognition Ceremony at 3 p.m. on the Main Stage.

The 2008 craft show features a half dozen categories such as fiber art (knitting, weaving, crochet, embroidery, fabric), decorating (floral, home décor, seasonal), painting (china, ceramics, tole), wood, leather, and other crafts (clay, dolls, jewelry, paper). Awards include Best of Show, People’s Choice, and first through third place.

A top cash prize of $1,750 will be presented to the best artistic representation depicting Grove City past, present, or future.

Diehl said the library is filled with photography on display in the library, the municipal building is the host site for fine arts and crafts, youth art is presented at the safety building, and over 100 quilts line the interior of St. John’s church.

Visual art displayed throughout Grove City’s Town Center district is accompanied by a plethora of artistic sounds emanating from a pair of stages. The Grove City marching band is in concert on the Main Stage at 11 a.m. on Sept. 20 and followed by musical acts from big band, country, and the Touch of Class show choir and ending the day with blues/soul group Soul Satyr at 7 p.m.

The John Popovich Trio headlines the list of acts on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. and Eileen Howard and her band bring Arts in the Alley to a jazzy close at 4 p.m., following the art show award presentations.

A karaoke-style challenge features vocalists age 12 and under on Sept. 21 on the Kids Street Fun Stage on Park Street. Youthful singers can choose from a pre-selected menu of age and word appropriate music and then perform them live, but they must pre-register for the event. Following the challenge, an open microphone is available for children of all ages.

The festival is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. There is no admission charge and parking is free.

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