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Artsfest 2017 Continues to Grow

(Poster design courtesy Springfield Regional Arts Council)

"This is an iconic weekend--it's called 'Artsfest weekend,'" says Marty Goodnight.  He's the Chair of the Artsfest Committee, and of course he's talking about Artsfest on Walnut Street, southwest Missouri's largest fine arts festival, which will celebrate its 37th year (yes!) Friday and Saturday May 6 and 7 in the Walnut Street Historic District, bounded by Kimbrough Avenue on the west and National Avenue on the east.

"We have so many great opportunities for people that attend--it's a wonderful family event," according to Goodnight. This year's festival will boast the largest lineup of performers in Artsfest history--79 performers in all, says Goodnight. The music festival-inspired Kentwood Green performance space will stay open to patrons until 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 6 to accommodate the lineup. The space is sponsored by TransLand, with no entry fee beyond Artsfest admission. That means that guests can see some of the area's best performers in one place for only $5 at the Artsfest gate. The star-studded performance lineup will include local favorites like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Shaun Munday and The Hurricanes.

In addition to the performers, and some 140 fine artists and crafters from all over the country, Artsfest also features food--lots of it.  Marty Goodnight reports the festival will host 14 different food vendors this year, "ranging from barbecue to empanadas--such a great choice for everyone.  Beer and wine will be available this year."

Artsfest, as always, will feature a kids hands-on area with activities including Chalk-It-Up and the Claymobile, a mobile ceramic arts workshop. "We're giving more and more opportunities for people to stay longer, to come back on Sunday if they attended on Saturday, so there will be a lot of action all weekend," promises Marty Goodnight.

Admission is $5 at the gate, and tickets are available in advance at area McDonald's restaurants, or at the gate on Saturday or Sunday.  Also, Goodnight suggests checking out Artsfest on Facebook. "We will be having some social media promotions. One of them is a new partnership with Uber, where we'll have a free code for any new Uber passenger, that they can use at Artsfest."  And from all (current) indications, the weather should be fine.

Artsfest is presented by Great Southern Bank and the Springfield Regional Arts Council and managed by the Downtown Springfield Association. For more information visit or call the Arts Council at 862-ARTS (2787).

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.