By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City residents and visitors will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Paseo Arts Festival on Memorial Day weekend – May 28-30. Festival hours are Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with music until 11 p.m. On Monday, the Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Historic Paseo Arts District is located between NW 30th and Dewey and N.W. 28th and Walker in Oklahoma City. The event will host more than 80 visual artists, selling original artwork in a variety of media, from painting and photography to wood and jewelry.
“We are very excited to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Paseo Arts Festival,” said Amanda Bleakley, Paseo Arts Association executive director. “What once started as a small street fair with a handful of volunteers, neighborhood prepared food, peg board booths and a borrowed stage, has grown to a nationally juried festival with over 60,000 visitors annually.”
The three-day festival will also include dozens of musicians and other live performers on three stages. The North Stage will feature talent such as the Jared Deck Trio, Jahruba and the Jahmystics, The Haystack Needles and The Sweetwater.
The South Stage will spotlight dancers and some of the Festival’s most popular returning acts including The Red Dirt Rangers, The Paseo Street Walkers, and Hannah Wolff.
On the Acoustic Stage festival visitors will hear tunes from musicians such as Darren Cipponeri, Zac Copeland, Heartbreak Rodeo, Autumn Ray and Jane Mays.
The food court at Paseo Drive and 29th Street will feature a variety of food vendors, offering traditional and not-so-traditional Festival fare like burritos, gyros, Indian tacos, paninis and egg rolls. Beverages to soothe your thirst include lemonade, ice tea, wine and beer.
In addition to the visiting artists and food vendors, the Paseo Arts District’s restaurants and galleries will be open during Festival hours. Many galleries will host special exhibits and new artists during the Festival.
The festival will provide a variety of opportunities for children to dabble in the arts, including the Paper Play Theatre, which features puppetry, storytelling, costumes and dance inside Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan.
“I went to the festival with my sister niece and little boy,” said Oklahoma City resident LaLinda Eggerling. “We had a lot of fun – there were lots of beautiful things there.”
Each year, the Paseo Arts Festival draws more than 60,000 people who come to enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of this popular event.
As the Paseo Arts Association’s largest annual fundraiser, the festival helps to support arts events in the Paseo year-round.
“I have gone every year for the past 12-15 years…good food, music, and reasonably priced art,” said festival attendee Anne Day Lykes.
Developed by Oklahoman G.A. Nichols in 1929, the Paseo is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2010, the American Planning Association named the Paseo as one of the Top Ten Neighborhoods in the United States.
Then, in the 1950’s, the Paseo became home to an eclectic mix of small businesses and jazz clubs.
The first annual Paseo Arts Festival was held Memorial Day Weekend in 1977.
“So much to see and eat. Great place,” said Carmel Jones of Daphne, Alabama. “Of all the places we visited, I liked 612 the best. What a wonderful idea to help teach children about art and gardening.”
Moore resident Steve Genow said, “Always fun to people watch, with good music and good food. I highly recommend it.”
Formed in 1982, the Paseo Arts Association (PAA) is a non-profit 501©(3) organization that works to foster and maintain an environment for artistic growth in the community. The PAA provides year round opportunities for cultural exchange between artists and the public.
One of the most creative art venues in the country, the Paseo Arts District, is home to 22 galleries all within walking distance to restaurants, shopping, nonprofit organizations, and other businesses.
For a complete list of stage performances and more information, visit www.thepaseo.com.