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Festival of arts kicks off Saturday

August 29, 2013
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

TORONTO -The 36th-annual Festival of the Arts, sponsored by the Focus in Toronto Organization, and centered around the city gazebo commons and the Riverview United Methodist Church parking lot, is set for Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The festival will be similar to those of years past, with the exception of many new craft vendors selling unusual items, according to Brenda Cich, FIT chairman.

"We have a lot of new craft vendors this year," she said, adding there will be more variety than in years past. "A lot of our tried-and-true vendors of the past have retired."

Arts and crafts, children's games, continuous entertainment and food will be part of the fun, according to Cich.

"We're going to do hourly drawings," she said, adding vendors will donate items from the drawings.

One of the items to be drawn off includes a canvas portrait of the former Toronto High School, designed by Cich herself, who is a professional photographer.

"A lot of people really seemed to be interested in that print," she continued. "The kids' carnival went over really well last year, so we're doing that again this year."

Food will include cuisine from Davis Foods and the Toronto Band Parents as well as barbecued chicken dinners courtesy of the Toronto Lions Club. A variety of food, beverages and sweet items also will be available in the Riverview Church basement as well.

"We're also going to have an ice cream vendor there," added Cich.

Mark Miller, festival entertainment chairman, said this year's entertainment will rival that of any other local festival, with some local acts as well as a variety of music.

"We'd like to thank Mike Biasi and Valley Converting Co. for being the entertainment sponsor," said Miller. "We're going to have jazz, classic acoustic, classic rock and country and modern rock as well. There definitely will be something there for everyone. And Ron Retzer is coming back this year as well."

Saturday's activities will include the opening ceremonies at 11 a.m., with city Safety Director John Parker welcoming those visiting. Other opening activities will include the national anthem, the crowning of Little Miss Lion by the Toronto Lions Club and a performance by the Toronto High School Band.

At noon the Sassy Shakers will do their thing, after which the Broken Arrow Band, performing a selection of folk-rock, country and originals, takes the stage from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Country artist Rose Angelica, writer and recording artist signed to Lamon records in Nashville, will sing her originals and tunes made famous by other country artists from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Classic acoustic rock band and local favorite the Fossils is scheduled to perform from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Sunday begins with a worship service on stage at 11 a.m. courtesy of the Riverview United Methodist Church, followed by the Mark Miller/Arianna Powell jazz guitar duo from 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The city middle and high school cheerleaders will strut their stuff from 1:45 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. followed by the all-girl rock band Spinning Jenny from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The popular Retzer finishes Sunday performing from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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