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Cultural Events

2021 Newtown Arts Festival Less Than A Week Away



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The 2021 Newtown Arts Festival is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, September 17-19.

The weekend will open with a headlining performance by the Alternate Routes on Friday evening. It will continue with two days of workshops, performances, vendors, and food trucks and tents spread over the soccer and ball field at Fairfield Hills.

The main entrance for all events will again be south of Kent House, where this year volunteers will be able to scan prepaid tickets as well as accept payment on site for entry.

Festival Chair Barbara Snyder is happy to have that new offering for the event, saying it allows people faster access to the grounds as well as contactless entry for those who prefer that option.

A QR code has even been worked into the ads run online and in print by The Newtown Bee in recent weeks.

“With online tickets, people can walk up, show their tickets on their phone, and buzz right in,” Snyder said. “They don’t have to handle cash.”

The second benefit she sees to the new option is its speed.

“If someone is running late for a performance or workshop they really want to get to, this will allow them into the grounds that much faster,” she added.

High on the list of priorities is attention to the continued presence of COVID-19.

“I am very concerned about COVID and want everyone in our community to be safe,” Snyder told The Newtown Bee on August 23. “To that end, we will be following all state guidelines and protocols.

Snyder plans to wear a mask for the duration of the festival, she said.

She will encourage “all attended to practice safety measures,” she noted. Tents will be spaced farther apart than past years, and hand sanitizer stations will be available in multiple locations.

Newtown Cultural Arts Commission Chair Laura Lerman mentioned recently that shade tents have also been added to the festival’s layout. The festival is the largest annual presentation by the commission.

“We’ve added those tents,” Lerman said August 16, “so that even more people can enjoy themselves. They can get out of the sun, sit and enjoy their lunch, listen to music, and even watch people walking by.”

Friday Night Update

While originally planned with one featured act, the Friday night concert will now have an opening set as well.

Snyder recently announced that Gold Roots has been added to the roster, with that set planned for 6:30 pm. Gates will now open at 5:30 — 30 minutes earlier than previously announced — and the Alternate Routes will now take the stage closer to 7:30.

Tickets are $25 for lawn seating, $35 for VIP seats under the tent, and $250 for a table of six.

A wine and beer garden and food trucks will be available that evening. BYO seating and plenty of bug spray.

Weekend Plans

The 2021 Newtown Arts Festival will then run from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the original announcement of a 4 pm Sunday closing, the gate will remain open until 5 pm both days.

Festival admission is $5 adults, and $3 for ages 6-12. Children age 5 and under will be admitted free of charge.

“We’re keeping the admission fees the same for another year because I really don’t want this to ever be about money,” Snyder said.

Artists, crafters, and artisans will be present on Saturday and Sunday, when the soccer/baseball/softball field surrounded by Keating Farms Avenue and DG Beers Boulevard will be filled with tents, tables, booths, and seating.

“We have more over 40 local artisans coming to show and sell their paintings, woodworking, jewelry, and other artistic creations,” Snyder said. “We are excited to welcome back many past artists, and I am so excited to see the new artists who signed up this year.”

The food trucks and a beer and wine garden will remain on site.

“Attendees will have their choice of several different types of cuisine, including vegan options and dessert favorites,” Snyder said. With nine planned food vendors, “there will undoubtedly be something for everyone.”

Music will be nearly steady both days, with performances planned by Ed Accardi on Saturday at 11:15 am; the Belden Wheeler Duo at 12:20, the Steve Clarke Band at 1:15, the Shoutbacks at 2:15, and the Doug Wahlberg Band closing the stage with a set at 3:45.

The crowd favorite Newtown High School Marching Band will once again wake up Sunday’s first attendees with an 11 am performance.

Music will the continue with Nine North at noon, Sean Lemkey at 1 and 3 pm, Union Rail at 3:30, and the Steve Rodgers Band also performing at 3:30, according to the festival website.

Lerman is happy to be welcoming Newtown artist Tracy van Buskirk “and her wonderful Cardboard University.” Members of the Society of Creative Arts of Newtown are planning plein air paint-outs, SOVA Dance and Puppet Theater is this year’s featured performance artist, and Radio City Rockette Maddie Rodrigue will be leading a master dance class.

General admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday are available online now.

The Newtown Arts Festival is sponsored by the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission. Proceeds support scholarships for Newtown residents who are high school graduating seniors and grants to Newtown arts organizations and artists.

For additional information, including the 2021 Festival Map, schedule, and ticket links, visit newtownartsfestival.com.

Associate Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com.

2021 Newtown Arts Festival Chair Barbara Snyder shows off some of the new swag she and other volunteers will be offering during the three-day event. The T-shirt she is holding up features the 2021 logo, designed by Nancy Cole. The festival will open Friday, September 17, with an outdoor concert at Fairfield Hills. —Bee Photo, Hicks
The 2021 Newtown Arts Festival will have vendor and performance tents spaced farther apart than previous years. Organizers have also added shade tents for the comfort of attendees on September 18 and 19.
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