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SOBO Art Festival

Kristi Kates - June 20th, 2011
“WE is a big word when we discuss the 2nd Annual SoBo Arts Festival,”
explains festival co-coordinator Robin Lee Berry, “each of us have had big
and important jobs that are essential in making the festival happen.”
The idea for the Arts Fest began last year, when the community decided to
work together to “put a face,” as Berry puts it, on the collective pool of
local artist talent; Freshwater Studio’s Tony Williams and
Berry worked with Jerry Dennis, CindiFranco’s CoolStuff, and Lake Street
Market to create a committee that put together the first festival. This
year, most of the same team is back, along with the support of the Main
Street Committee of Boyne City, and have put together what Berry calls “a
very eclectic weekend” that coincides with the first Stroll the Streets of
summer 2011.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
  When asked what this year’s festival highlights will be, Berry launches
into a list so extensive, it sounds like it would take up a week’s worth
of festival-ing, not a mere two days. But this is Boyne City’s SoBo -
ambitious and full of variety.
“Boyne Area gymnastics will be presenting an Aerial Silk event, and we’ll
have swing dance instruction followed by a street dance with Chris
Bickley’s Bay Area Big Band, a nationally acclaimed big band that is so
worthy to hear and experience,” Berry begins.
“Saturday is a musical jam at 10 a.m. - come one, come all! - followed by
a full day of music.”
Among the acts this year will be Kirby, Zumba, the Boyne Celtic
Collective, Northwoods Recorders, the community band, and the Charlevoix
Sax Quartet, among others.
“We’ll end the day with Jan Fowler and Peacemeal offering a Contra-dance,
which is big fun for families - if you have not tried it, this will be a
wonderful time to experience that. And all of this will be going on while
we present a juried art fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. - a variety of mediums
will be presented, plus demonstrations, multi-media, authors with
published works, and the Healing Arts category. There will also be street
performers, including Twister Joe tying balloons - and this year, there
will be food, too.”

STROLLING BOYNE
Live music has given Boyne City a boost.
“Karen Guzenchek, who owns Country Now and Then and Up a Lazy River with
her husband, Ray, came up with the idea that one night a week all summer
long, Boyne City would have live music playing on each street corner and
downtown merchants would be encouraged to stay open later to let folks
wander in,” Berry explains, “it has been a huge success, and hundreds of
people come in from all over every week to enjoy the festivities.”
The SoBo Arts Fest is poised to become a huge success of its own. With the
SoBo neighborhood itself growing and gaining attention regularly, any new
project is welcomed with open arms and plenty of local enthusiasm.
“The Boyne City Main Street Committee has been giving sincere, devoted,
and intelligent thought to smart growth with intention of shining a light
on Boyne as a community suitable to raise a family, create businesses,
retire, visit and play in,” Berry explains, “and I believe there is a
genuine wholesome quality to our town that is something people are missing
as other cities grow and expand. There really is a hometown feel here and
that truly is appealing. Hence our slogan, ‘Hometown Feel, Small Town
Appeal,’” she says.

FESTIVAL FAVORITES
And when asked what she, personally, is looking forward to, Berry’s answer
is that of a true performer - being able to collaborate with other
musicians, of course.
“I am pretty fond of that big band,” she says, “Chris Bickley is an
amazing talent, and since I have the honor of being their singer for this
concert, that will be a high point for me.”
“But,” she continues, “there are so many wonderful things planned for this
festival that I can honestly say I look forward to every item on the
schedule. I mostly hope that people find their way to Boyne City and plan
to spend the weekend experiencing the first Stroll the Streets of the
summer, and the 2nd Annual SoBo Arts Festival.”
“Festivals are an important environment to foster creativity, offer family
time, and increase the awe and wonder threshold, all in good clean air
surrounded by beautiful Lake Charlevoix,” Berry says, “it is important to
put feet to the pavement in Boyne to really appreciate it, and we hope
people will get very comfortable wandering all of our beautiful streets
here in Boyne City.”

The 2011 2nd Annual SoBo Arts Festival will take place on June 24 and 25
in downtown Boyne City and the SoBo Arts District. For more information,
visit
www.soboartsdistrict.org
 
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