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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Highland Square to fill with music, art

8/28/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Time Cat plays at last year’s Square Fest. The event this year is set for Sept. 6.
Photo: Dale Dong
WEST AKRON — There’s music, music, everywhere at the Sept. 6 Square Fest in Highland Square.

Beginning with the Michael Weber Show at 11 a.m. and ending with Shivering Timbers at 7:45 p.m., Square Fest will have continuous music on three stages and in five Highland Square businesses.

West Market Street will be blocked off from Portage Path to Casterton Avenue for the duration of the festival, said Julie Pryseski, a community event specialist for the City of Akron. The free event will run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a Square Fest “after party” featuring a performance by the Ohio Burn Unit at 6:45 p.m. and Shivering Timbers on the main stage at 7:45 p.m. The after party will run until 9 p.m.

The main stage, located in the center of the festival, has been re-oriented to face south, Pryseski said. “Everyone wanted all the music [they had last year], but it was just too loud,” Pryseski said.

Re-orienting the main stage and moving some acts into local businesses should reduce the volume, she said.

Other acts at the Main Stage include Maid Myriad at noon, Nick Wilkinson at 1 p.m., 11 After at 2 p.m., Rooster Jones at 3 p.m., Winslow at 4 p.m., Zach at 5 p.m. and Acid Cats at 6:15 p.m.

The Family Stage, at Portage Path, will open at 11:15 a.m. with magician Rick Smith and continue through the day with Zobapago, Hillbilly Savant, Rebeka, A-Minus and ending at 4:15 p.m. with Obelisk.

The Fusion Stage at Casterton Avenue opens at 11:30 a.m. with Bad Hounds and continues through the day with Memphis Cradle, Atomic, The Help, Jovan and Time Cat.

The Square Bar, 820 W. Market St., will host Group Keys at 4:15 p.m. and Kyle Magilavy at 5:30 p.m.

The Highland Tavern, 808 W. Market Street, will host The Voice at 3:30 p.m. and Moon Rocks at 5 p.m.

Performing at the Highland Square Branch Library will be RiverFall at 12:45 p.m. and New Moon Rising at 2:15 p.m.

The Highland Theatre, 826 W. Market St., will host Johnny G at noon and Copoli at 1:30 p.m.

Angel Falls, 792 W. Market St., will host Elliot Ingersoll at 3 p.m. and Travelouge at 4:45 p.m.

A new addition to this year’s Square Fest is a 20-by-40-foot beer and wine tent adjacent to the main stage, Pryseski said. Although Annabell’s hosted an outdoor beer garden last year, Mayor Don Plusquellic thought the street fair atmosphere of Square Fest would be enhanced by the addition of the beer and wine tent, Pryseski said. Annabell’s again will host its beer garden at the rear of the business, she said.

More than 90 exhibitors — including artists, organizations and neighborhood businesses — will line West Market Street, organizers said.

The West Akron and North Akron Kiwanis clubs once again are sponsoring Akron’s Best Pizza competition, Pryseski said. The clubs are hoping to have 20 local pizza vendors under one tent, she said. The tent will have seating, and the vendors will sell slices of pizza. The competition will be determined by a crowd vote for best pizza and individual aspects, such as best crust and best sauce, Pryseski said.

The children’s area will include free activities, including a video game truck, inflatables, a trackless train ride and make-and-take crafts, she said.

Food vendors, including Miss Julie’s Kitchen, Frank’s Place on Market and Stray Dog hot dogs, will congregate on Conger Avenue, Pryseski said. The Highland Square Farmers’ Market also will have a presence, Pryseski said.

Just outside the main footprint of the festival, free yoga classes will be offered outside PNC Bank, Pryseski said.

Square Fest has been going on for many years under different names, Pryseski said. The festival in its present form evolved from Art in the Square, a project of the West Hill Neighborhood Organization (WHNO), she said. The city became involved two years ago to ensure the festival endures and to add some financial stability, she said.

Square Fest’s main sponsor this year is new-kid-on-the-square, Mustard Seed Market. Mustard Seed is building a long-awaited grocery store in the neighborhood and will have a presence at the festival, Pryseski said. Other sponsors are the WHNO and the city.

Pryseski said the Akron Recreation Bureau also is working with Highland Square merchants to create a coupon book they hope will encourage festival-goers to patronize the businesses, she said.

Free parking will be available at the American Red Cross, 501 W. Market St., and Akron First Assembly Church, 1175 W. Market St. There will be free trolley service to the festival from both parking lots, organizers said.

More information about the festival can be found at www.akronsquarefest.org.

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