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Middletown Arts Festival to showcase art, music, dance and theater

Middletown’s annual, one-day arts festival on Saturday, Sept. 9, will feature some of the top visual and performing artists from across Southwest Ohio. The festival will be from noon to 8 p.m. at several sites throughout downtown.

The event is free and open to the public.

“We’re trying to not only bring in our regulars, but to feature new artists as well as to engage with younger citizens. And, we have another part that’s really exciting called the ‘Urban Core.’ It’s almost like a festival within a festival. They will have hip-hop dance, lyricists, spoken word artists, a singer and a DJ. It’s art with an urban vibe. It’s supposed to be really hip, and they will sell T-shirts and their wares, too,” said Jackie Phillips, president of the board of directors for Middletown Arts Center and chairman of the Middletown Arts Festival Advisory Committee.

Celebrating the region’s rich art culture, Phillips said the festival will give attendees an opportunity to be exposed to a wide-range of art, music, dance, theater and more.

More than 40 artists wroking in a variety of mediums will sell hand-crafted items, including leather, metal sculpture, drawings, watercolor and glass.

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Other forms of art represented will be sidewalk, chalk-art, ceramic wheels and potters working with clay. Children’s activities will include a bouncy house and face painting. Artwork from area schools will also be on display. Food and drinks will be available for sale.

Middletown’s art organizations, such as The Middletown Arts Center will also participate. Visit the MAC Mobile, or check out the items available for purchase, including paintings, pottery and jewelry.

“We are going to throw everything at the festival this year, and the only thing we’ll need to pull this one off is great weather,” Phillips said.

Middletown Arts Festival is always held of the second Saturday of September. The festival will kick-off at noon from the Main Stage with opening remarks from Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr., a flag presentation by the Boy Scouts and music from Bethel Gospel Choir. Following the opening ceremony, Cody Garrett will perform from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. and Audrey Whitaker Wright and Friends will be featured from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Later, Samuel Day will be on the Main Stage from 4:30 to 6 p.m., followed by The Cliftones from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Last year, there was rain early-on in the festival, so Samuel Day and The Cliftones will return again this year.)

The festival’s live entertainment will be highlighted on three stages – the Main Stage, a Tent Stage and a Governor’s Square Stage, starting at noon. For example, students from the Performing Arts Academy will be performing “Beauty and the Beast” on the Tent Stage from 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. Also, on the Tent Stage are the Broadway Bound Dancers from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Cincy’s Mile High Band from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The “Urban Core” at Governor’s Square will feature a DJ, a singer, spoken word performances, lyricists and a hip-hop dance group. DJ Pernell Huff will be at the Governor’s Square Stage from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Other performances will include Paisha, a singer, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; NODC Hip Hop Dance Group from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30; D Mitch, a lyricist, from 6 p.m. to 6:15 and ProphessorX will bring spoken word from 7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. and more.

“It’s a fun day. We have an arts festival to bring attention to downtown, and to offer that sense of community. …We still believe in the mission we started four years ago,” Phillips said.

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