By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Oklahoma City residents and visitors will gather for 41st Annual Paseo Arts Festival on Memorial Day weekend, May 27 – 29. Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with music until 11 p.m. On Monday, the Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
More than 90 visual artists will gather at the Paseo Arts District with original artwork in every media, from painting, ceramics and photography to woodworking, sculpture and jewelry
The Historic Paseo Arts District is located between NW 30th and Dewey and N.W. 28th and Walker.
The food court will feature 20 food and drink vendors with traditional and unusal festival treats such as gyros, Asian food, monster wraps, jerk chicken and mini donuts made to order, as well as a selection of beers from Roughtail Brewing Co.
“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,” said Amanda Bleakley, Paseo Arts Association executive director.
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 Jessica Tate Jazz Trio, Melanie Tucker, Phil Smith & The Blend Project, and Edgar Cruz.
The South Stage will spotlight dancers and some of the Festival’s most popular acts including Aalim Bellydance Academy, The Howard Brady Band, and the Unlikely Blues Band.
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 offered will 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 event weekend.
The festival will provide a variety of opportunities for children to pursue the arts, including the Paper Play Theatre, which features puppetry, storytelling, costumes and dance inside Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan.
Each year, the Paseo Arts Festival draws thousands of 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.
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.
The Paseo Arts District is home to 22 galleries all within walking distance to restaurants, shopping, nonprofit organizations, and other businesses.
To volunteer for the 2017 Paseo Arts Festival click here, goo.gl/CwYKiU. Volunteers will receive a free t-shirt and beverage ticket for each shift worked.
The Paseo Express shuttle will run every 15 minutes to the festival from the parking lot at First Christian Church at NW 36th and Walker. Shuttle hours are 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. May 28 and 29 and from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 30.
The City Sentinel is a proud sponsor of the Paseo Arts Festival.
For a complete schedule of events, visit thepaseo.org or for more information call 405-525-2688.