TORONTO - The city's annual festival of the arts, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and sponsored by the Focus in Toronto organization, will once again feature a host of crafters, food vendors and a musical lineup emphasizing live music.
The event will be centered around the city gazebo commons as in past years, according to Brenda Cich, chairman of the Focus in Toronto organization.
"We will have a nice variety of artisans and crafters this year with a few new additions from outside of the area," said Cich, adding crafters will be in the gazebo area at Third and Market streets. "As always, there will be a large selection of food vendors.
The Joseph Sisters and band will be one of the performers during the annual Toronto Festival of the Arts, held Sept. 1-2 centered around the city gazebo commons. Other acts slated for the two-day arts festival, sponsored by the Focus in Toronto organization, include the Fossils, the Gem City Bluegrass Band, the Swinging Jazzbos featuring guest vocalist and Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham, Memphis Mike, the Howard Report String Quartet and the Toronto High School Band.
"It's looking like we're going to have great weather for the festival," Cich continued. "Last year the heat index was around100 degrees, which made for a miserable experience and kept a lot of people away."
Cich also said the Goucher Hotel's virtual ride - known as "the Last Ride" - will be waiting for anyone brave enough to give it a try.
"We've upgraded the electric service to accommodate additional food vendors in the entertainment area," Cich said. "There's always enough space to add new vendors, and I will be accepting last-minute craft, art and food vendors until Aug. 29. Those interested should call (740) 632-2477."
Food booths also will be hosted by the Toronto Band Parents organization and the Toronto Lions Club as well as soups and sandwiches available at the Riverview United Methodist Church, 105 N. River Ave. The church parking lot also will be the place for the festival's entertainment, which will include all live acts this year with an emphasis on the arts, according to Mark Miller, festival music director.
"This year I wanted to book entertainment that brings more art to the festival," said Miller, adding all live acts are going to be featured. "I really put a lot of thought into this so that different facets of music would be represented, including some artists that are outside the box from the usual festival fare to popular acts that are high quality and would hopefully attract music lovers from outside Toronto as well."
Miller said entertainment would include blues, jazz, classical, contemporary acoustic, bluegrass and a Christian praise and worship band.
Entertainment begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with a welcome by Mayor John Geddis and the selection of Little Miss Lion by the Toronto Lions Club. The Toronto High School Marching Band also will perform a number of selections.
Country bluesman Memphis Mike, also known as Mike Metzger from Pittsburgh, will perform from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Metzger is a highly-regarded musician that has performed at festivals in the U.S. and around the world, said Miller. Saturday's headliners the Joseph Sisters Band take the stage from 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The Wheeling-based country act that recently released its first CD will be appearing at the festival a few days after a showcase gig in Nashville and past appearances at Jamboree in the Hills, said Miller.
The Swinging Jazzbos will be performing from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with special guest vocalist Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham, according to Miller.
"We're going to play what we usually do - straight-ahead jazz, including standards," Miller said. "We're really excited to have sitting in with us that day commissioner Graham, who usually sings to backing tracks. I thought it would be interesting to have him sing with a live band, and he was up for it."
Also Saturday, between performances pupils and students from Toronto High School will compete in the first-ever "Student poetry Slam," reciting their poems and vying for title of best poet for the weekend, according to Miller.
Sunday begins with an outdoor service scheduled for 11 a.m. hosted by the Riverview United Methodist Church featuring the Remnant, a praise and worship band from Wellsville. At 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. the Howard Report string quartet will perform, followed by local contemporary acoustic band the Fossils from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The day's entertainment will conclude with the Gem City Bluegrass Band beginning at 4 p.m.
Miller also will be playing solo jazz guitar between sets as well, he added.
For information, call (740) 317-4776.
There is always enough space to add new vendors, I will be accepting last minute craft, art and food vendors until Aug. 29th. Those interested can call 632.2477.