Middletown Arts Festival showcases visual, performing artists

MIDDLETOWN – It’s time again for the annual one-day festival in Middletown that showcases some of the top visual and performing artists from the Southwest Ohio region.

The Middletown Arts Festival returns to Saturday, Sept. 12 from noon to 8 p.m. at several sites throughout downtown.

“We are going to host a Gospel Hour with three to four churches participating,” said Jackie Phillips, Middletown’s health commissioner, president of the Middletown Art Center and chairperson of the Middletown Arts Festival Advisory Committee. “It will be held right at the lunch hour, so it will fall right after the opening ceremony. That is new. And, we also have a dance troupe, Asi Es Colombia coming, which will be on the main stage as well, so that will be exciting.”

Students from local schools, including Middletown, Springboro, Franklin and beyond will also feature their work at the festival. Last year, students had more than 300 pieces on display.

“We are looking forward to building on a fun, family arts day,” Phillips said. “This year, we critiqued it, and closed up the space just a little bit. We are starting right at the Middletown Arts Center, and then, we are going to The Pendleton Art Center. We are also going to do health screenings at the YMCA. This is truly a festival that is supported by the entire community.”

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Guests can come downtown for the free event and hear music from the Middletown Symphony Orchestra and also can experience performances from Madcap Puppets or participate in a puppet-making workshop at the MAC. Balloon artist Cedar Sanderson will entertain children of all ages. Additionally, more than 20 artists, including Andrew Scorti, a metal sculpting artist, will be on-site to display a variety of artwork and handmade wares – from glassblowing and jewelry to quilting and more.

As far as other new entertainment options, the offerings for children and families have been further expanded this year.

Another change is that there will be two full-service drink stations with wine, craft beers and beers. A variety of food vendors will also be participating.

The event’s opening ceremony will kick-off at noon with remarks from Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. Following the opening ceremony, there will be a Gospel Hour from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. Madcap Puppets will perform at the MAC from noon to 1 p.m. Also, children can enjoy a Kids Zone at the YMCA from 4 to 8 p.m. The evening will end with a concert from 33 People at 6 p.m. A complete schedule of events is available online at http://middletownartsfestival.com/events.html.

Additionally, there will be free health checks and screenings at the Premier Health/Atrium Health Fair inside the YMCA gym from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“What we are doing is highlighting the vibrant arts community we have here in Middletown, while at the same time, celebrating the rich arts heritage in our community,” said Executive Direction/CEO, T. Duane Gordon, Middletown Community Foundation and Middletown Arts Festival Advisory Committee member.

“This is a great opportunity for residents to experience quality, family friendly entertainment, right in the community. We are hoping to have 5,000 to 6,000 attendees, so we would like to double the attendance over last year.”

The event is made possible through donations from major sponsors as well as from businesses and individuals in the community. About 3,000 guests attended last year’s festival, officials said.

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