Harrisburg revelers won’t have to wait until Labor Day to get their festival fix this year.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Councilman Cornelius Johnson on Tuesday announced the city’s first-ever Weekender Festival, which will be held Aug. 17 to 19 in Reservoir Park. The free event is jointly hosted by the Harrisburg Housing Authority, the city, Levels Ready Entertainment and The Singer’s Lounge.
The Weekender will bring together existing community events and organizations to showcase local talent in Harrisburg’s largest historical park, Johnson said.
“This is a prime example of how we can work with partners and use resources together to make something great for residents,” he said.
The festival will begin Friday, Aug. 17 with a community education and health fair at Hall Manor. Harrisburg Housing Authority will also host a barbecue with free food for the first 300 participants. Field games, a live DJ and an open mic will provide entertainment for families and children.
The Harrisburg Music Festival will kick off on Saturday with performances by Sa-Roc, Tobe Nwigwe, Zariya and DJ Diamond Kuts. Now in its seventh year, the festival, hosted by Levels Ready Entertainment, draws close to 1,000 people to Reservoir Park annually with free performances by national performing artists.
The Weekender will conclude on Sunday with an all-day basketball tournament hosted by Unity Hoops and performances by The Singers Lounge, a consortium of local soul singers. TSL hosts monthly showcases in different venues throughout the city, but their event at The Weekender will be free to the public.
Sunday’s performers include Zariya, a 14-year-old, award-winning singer songwriter, as well as a surprise guest.
Harrisburg has waived permitting fees for the event and will provide support staff throughout the weekend, Papenfuse said. Otherwise, all funds and in-kind donations for the festival were raised by the Harrisburg Housing Authority.
Entrance to The Weekender events is free, but attendees can obtain tickets online through Eventbrite. Oche Bridgeford, director of communications and compliance for the Harrisburg Housing Authority, said that electronic ticket-holders will receive last-minute updates about weather delays or lineup changes. Festival organizers have arranged alternative locations in case it rains, Bridgeford said.
Event organizers are preparing for 10,000 attendees over the course of the weekend. Johnson hopes that the festival will become an annual event.
In other local festival news, Dauphin County’s annual Cultural Festival has been moved indoors, due to the threat of rain on Friday. It now will be held at the Zembo Shrine, N. 3rd and Division streets, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., featuring a variety of food, music, dance and other entertainment.
The Weekender Festival will be held Aug. 17 to 19 at Reservoir Park, Harrisburg. For more information, visit www.weekenderhbg.eventbrite.com.
The Dauphin County Cultural Festival will be held this Friday, Aug. 3, at the Zembo Shrine Event Complex, 2801 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit www.dauphincounty.org.