LowerTown Festival Offers New Attractions
By Traci Buchanan
PADUCAH, KY - More juried artists than ever, two stages featuring a variety of excellent musicians, an expanded Taste of Paducah, new competition, “Top Potter Showdown” and Art Cars - that's what visitors to this years Lower Town Arts and Music Festival can expect.
Co-directors of this year's festival, Michael and Victoria Terra, are positive that “America’s Artland” is going to be the best Festival yet. On May 17, 18 and 19, 65 juried artists will display their work, 30 musical acts will perform, a Taste of Paducah will include 13 vendors and a children’s pavilion will feature fun activities and live performances.
“In 2012 and again in 2013, this Festival was selected as one of the Top Ten Spring Festivals in Kentucky by the Kentucky State Tourism Bureau,” Victoria said. “The Festival's mission is to celebrate the cultural richness of this part of the country. We know we have a great thing going on here and we want to present it every year. We have it all – regional music, art, theater and food. And, we have a great children’s pavilion this year, so bring the whole family. Admission is free.”
Festival organizers try to bring something fresh to the expanding Festival every year, Michael said. “We're introducing some new stuff this year – ‘Art Cars’ and ‘Top Potter Showdown.’ Plus, ‘Taste of Paducah’ is expanding with some new eats. So, everything points to another smash hit Festival. ”
Art Cars are exactly what they sound like, Victoria explained. “Artists use their cars as canvases for their work. There are some amazing things created. A few years ago a local artist parked her car at the Festival and proceeded to cover it with her own art. It was a big hit. So, now we’re actively soliciting other artists to bring their creations.”
The Top Potter Showdown will be a lively competition among potters at the show.
“Organized by the Paducah School of Art and Design, there will be potters wheels set up in the middle of the street,” Michael said. “The potters will take different challenges on. There will be different heats – like who can throw the tallest cylinder, the widest bowl, etc. We’ll have a three-minute ‘free throw’ during which we’ll blindfold the potters. It will be a lot of fun to watch.”
The Paducah Symphony is again organizing the musical acts for this year. On Friday night, J.D. Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers will play. On Saturday evening, The 23 String Band will perform.
“An amazing variety of talent” is scheduled and will perform on the two Festival stages, Michael said. “This year, for the first time, the symphony will perform at the main stage..”
In addition to providing top notch entertainment, the Festival organizers work hard to make sure it’s “green,” the directors said. There will be a recycling station manned by local students who participate in environmental clubs. Plus, there will be a project activity at the recycling booth, where visitors can create a small sculpture out of the recycled products available.
The Lower Town Arts & Music Festival is produced and coordinated by The Lower Town Neighborhood Association. It takes many volunteers to produce a Festival of this size and quality, the Terras said.
“We are growing – which is a great thing – but it also means we need help,” Victoria said. “If someone in the community is interested in volunteering to help with the Festival in any way, even for an hour or two, he or she can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The complete list of artists and the music schedule is available at www.LowerTownAMF.com. Festival hours are: May 17, 3-10 pm; May 18, 10 am–10:30 pm; May 19, noon–5 pm.