MUSKEGON, MI — There are several new reasons to visit the Lakeshore Art Festival this year.
The Lakeshore Art Festival will fill the streets of downtown Muskegon Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two new Thursday events will preceded the festivities this year, and entertainment for kids has also been expanded.
"We always want to create something new and unique to add to the event," said Carla Flanders, festival director. "We just really want to express art in the community by adding elements each year that allows us to obtain freshness in art realm and a newness (to the festival) each year."
Muskegon's newest public art mural will be unveiled on Thursday before the festival kicks off at 4:30 p.m. The mural promotes Muskegon's Spring Industry and is funded by Motion Dynamics Corporation, Scherdel Sales and Technology and Michigan Spring and Stamp. The new piece is located on the west side of the Holiday Inn and Conference Center's Third Street Grille along West Western Avenue at Third Street.
In partnership with the Muskegon Museum of Art, all exhibiting artists are invited to attend an public reception after the dedication from 5 to 8 p.m. in the museum. Residents will get an opportunity to meet the artists and enjoy happy hour hors' devours and a cash bar.
Visitors can also use a new Art Walk map to find permanent art and sculptures throughout downtown Muskegon.
"This is a really cool feature, we've identified all of the public art along the Heritage District route," Flanders said. "We have 31 pieces all labelled (in maps) available at the info booth, so if people can look at fine art in the park and also take a stroll and see all of our sculptures."
Visitors and residents can visit downtown Muskegon during the Lakeshore Art Festival before heading to Heritage Landing for the 7th Annual Muskegon RockStock concert series on July 1 and 2. A fireworks show for the Fourth of July will end the festivities on Saturday after sunset.
While they like to add new events each year, Flanders said organizers like to keep community favorites at the festival. She said some exhibitors have returned for years because they know it's a good show.
There are 140 booth spaces available — 20 more than last year — for exhibitors to feature art in Hackley Park this year. A crafts section will run on Western Avenue and Clay Street between Fourth and First Streets.
Various food vendors representing local restaurants and street performers including jugglers, musicians, yo-yoers, hula hoopers will also available downtown.
Returning to the event this year is the Community Canvas Project, offering visitors the chance to paint for free on multiple large-scale canvases that will later be cut, stretched over frames and sold to benefit Family Promise of the Lakeshore.
The Lakeshore Art Festival Children's Lane, newly branded "Step into Art," features performances and creative art activities for kids on July 1 and 2.
The popular Barnyard Express will return with a petting zoo and interactive shows. New to the Children's Lane this year will be fun and lively performances by Cirqueamongus, a comedic, interactive and acrobatic circus show, and daily puppet shows by Kevin Kammeraad & Friends.
Steve Gyrb joins the Children's Lane with his Percussion Petting Zoo, an interactive musical activity filled with hundreds of unique percussion instruments from around the world.
An artful scavenger hunt is available to be picked up at the Children's Lane booth. Children's Lane is being coordinated by Fit4Mom Muskegon and supported by Alcoa.
Opportunities for volunteering are still available until June 30. Flanders said the festival needs people to help keep the streets clean, set up and takedown booths and sell merchandise.
For more details on all of the events happening during the festival and how to get involved, visit www.lakeshoreartfestival.org.
Malachi Barrett covers community news for MLive Muskegon Chronicle. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @PolarBarrett or on Facebook.
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