Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

No Rain Please: Artsfest returns to the Harrisburg waterfront with much to do, see, eat, drink.

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse and of Jump Street introduced Arsfest at city hall today.With the continuous rain and cloudy weather, Harrisburg is in dire need of some color.

Enter the 51st annual Artsfest. From May 26 to May 28, the city’s riverfront will be home to colorful works by more than 200 artists from across the nation displaying art in 16 different categories, ranging from photography to ceramics. There will be two food courts within the festival featuring many types of cuisine.

“This event is going to be as large and successful as ever,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse at a press conference (pictured above, with Jump Street Executive Director Melissa Snyder).

Some familiar faces are returning. HBG Fest, hosted by the HBG Flea, will bring in work from 45 local artists and craftsmen for a second straight year. This year, their tent, which will be located at the end of Front Street near Forster Street, will be larger to allow more air flow and room for people to shop.

Ever Grain Brewery Co. will host Beer Fest, also for the second year. Their handcrafted beer will be available for purchase outside of the Civic Club on N. Front Street.

Joining Beer Fest, for the first time, is Rubicon, a local French-influenced restaurant. Rubicon will provide a selection of oysters, a shrimp boil and its famous firefly cocktail.

Kids Fest returns with the help of Gamut Theater Groups’ Popcorn Hat Players, which will put on shows for children each day between noon and 5 p.m. In addition, vendors will sell a variety of kid-friendly items such as food, toys, art and more.

For music lovers, the Kunkel stage, located at Kunkel Plaza at State Street, will have performances by regional scholastic, local and emerging bands. Jazz Fest, sponsored by the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz, will play near the Walnut Street Bridge.

The award-winning London a cappella group, the Kingsmen, will make its first-ever Artsfest appearance, performing at noon on Saturday, May 26, on the Kunkel stage. The group will be joined by Vocal Harmonics, formally known as the Rose Red Chorus, an all-female a cappella group.

Film buffs can enjoy the 20th anniversary of FilmFest, a two-day screening of short films produced by local filmmakers and hosted by Moviate.

Van Gogh, the Susquehanna Art Museum’s mobile arts center, will feature “Behind the Scenes,” an all-ages exhibit that explores the art, jobs and tools located inside the museum.

For security purposes, no pets or bikes will be allowed in the festival. However, Recycle Bicycle will have an area for cyclists to place their bikes near Forster Street. The group will even provide free brake and tire tests.

With the help of Donegal Insurance Group and Park Harrisburg, parking in the Market Square Parking Garage will be free between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. all three days.

“It’s going to be a wonderful time,” said Papenfuse. “I hope everyone will come down to the riverfront and enjoy Artsfest this year.”

Artsfest takes place May 26 to 28 in Riverfront Park, Harrisburg. It is produced by Jump Street, a community-based, nonprofit organization that creates arts based program development and helps bring art and artists into Harrisburg. Click here for more information about Artsfest.

Photo by Mhelaney Noel

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