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Lower Town Arts and Music Festival slated

Lower Town Arts and Music Festival slated

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:00 pm

The Paducah (Ky.) Lower Town Arts and Music Festival organizers say to expect fresh additions to the tradition of excellence this year.
The three-day event — May 18, 19, 20 — showcases close to 100 artists and musicians from within a 350-mile radius of Paducah. There also will be plenty of entertainment with three stages to serve up a wide variety of regional musical talents plus balcony and street theater.
“We think it’s the perfect experience for this historic venue,” co-director Stefanie Graves said. “The Lower Town Arts & Music Festival is one of the biggest small art shows you’ll ever find.  Completely run by area artists and a core of volunteers, our goal is to create an outstanding experience for both artists and the public alike. Located within the historic Lower Town Arts District, the festival possesses a distinctive energy that is evidenced through its regional richness.”
Michael Terra, also co-director, is excited about the connection the festival will have this year with Paducah Improv, a project spearheaded by two men who worked with the well-known improvisational group Second City in Chicago. The Paducah group, a troupe of about 10, will be on the streets of the festival entertaining and will perform balcony theater. The group also will teach free improv classes all day.
“Culinary theater” also debuts this year at the festival. Terra said that West Kentucky Community and Technical College will do cooking demonstrations on stage and will offer samples for onlookers. A different theme will be introduced at each show on that Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Paducah Symphony Orchestra partners with the festival again this year to bring a wide variety of live music to the stages located throughout the six-block area. Public radio station, WKMS, will be streaming live from the main stage on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.  
The children’s activity tent will expand this year to a 40-foot long tent with its own stage.  Every two hours individual groups from the area will lead children in different craft projects. Live music will be featured, too. Terra said 300-400 children attended the event last year and he’s expecting even more this year.
Taste of Paducah will include more restaurants for 2012. “We’re looking for greater diversity,” Terra said. “We’ll have everything from the Buzzard Brothers’ barbecue to Cynthia’s offerings.” Each restaurant will offer a tasting menu, which will allow people to sample items from more than one booth. Schlafly Beer will offer a variety of artisan beer selections and Glisson Winery, a new vendor for the festival, will provide wine.
“This festival is an opportunity for those of us who know how rich and amazing Paducah is to show that off to our region,” Terra said. “The greater Paducah area is home to marvelous artists, delightful food and talented musicians. This is a chance to proudly show them off to the world.”
Organizers are planning for 15,000 in total attendance. Terra said the first year the artists planned and produced the event 13,500 attended and last year right under 15,000 came. About 100 volunteers work together to make the event happen.
“We have people who deliver lunches to the artists, people who help the musicians get on and off the stage, people who sell T-shirts and those who open their homes to artists who must travel to join us,” Terra said. “In a community of this size, to have than many people step up to volunteer, that’s something to be proud of as well.”
Terra also noted that the festival is “as green as you can get with a festival like this.” The Greater Paducah Sustainability Project is working with the event and will have recycling stations set up. Organizers are paying attention to details like supplying artists with reusable water bottles instead of disposable bottles.
Hours for the event are: May 18, 3 p.m.-10 p.m.; May 19, 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; and May 20, noon-5 p.m.
For more information and updates about the festival, go to www.lowertownamf.com.

Published in The Messenger 4.26.12

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