By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (March 24, 2020) – Originally scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-25, the Paseo Arts Festival will now take place on Labor Day Weekend, September 5-7 in response to COVID-19. The annual event is hosted by the Paseo Arts Association (PAA).
Given the high level of uncertainty surrounding this rapidly evolving situation, the decision was made with careful consideration and in the best interest of the hundreds of festival artists, performers, vendors and volunteers that make up the event, says PAA Executive Director Amanda Bleakley.
“The health and safety of the 60,000 visitors the festival draws to the district each year has always been the top priority of the PAA, and this time is no different,” Bleakley added.
Located between Northwest 27th and 30th Streets and Walker and Lee, the Paseo Arts Festival will feature nearly 100 nationally acclaimed visual artists with original artwork, from painting, ceramics and photography to woodworking, glass, sculpture and jewelry.
As announced earlier this month by The City Sentinel, the creator of this year’s featured festival artwork is artist Jerry Bennett, a full-time illustrator creating comic books, children’s books and shirt designs for licensed brands such as Lucasfilm, Marvel and DC.
Updates on how the community can support Paseo Arts District businesses and regarding all other PAA programs can be found online at thepaseo.org and on the district’s social media pages.
Organizers said PAA staff and board members will follow both city and state safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 and make adjustments as necessary.
The Paseo Arts Festival is the largest annual fundraiser for the Paseo Arts Association.
The money raised through beverage and merchandise sales directly supports the mission of the Paseo Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. These funds will be used to produce Paseo programs and events provided to the community year-round, such as the Fairy Ball, Magic Lantern, SPACE, FEAST and First Friday Gallery Walks.
Each year, visitors to the festival enjoy almost 100 nationally acclaimed visual artists, who fill the Historic Paseo Arts District with original artwork: everything from painting, ceramics and photography to woodworking, glass, sculpture and jewelry.
The upcoming festival food court will feature 20 food and drink vendors with traditional and not-so-traditional festival treats. Food court menus will offer a variety of noshes such as gyros, monster wraps, Indian tacos, grilled sirloin on a stick, and fried tacos. There will be a variety of craft beer on tap and in a can, as well as staple Budweiser products.
Voted Best Free Entertainment in Oklahoma Gazette’s 2019 Best of OKC, the festival is famous for its more than 50 musicians and live performers on three stages who donate their time and talents to support the Paseo.