A jam-packed weekend
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 5:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 5:37 p.m.
One of Gainesville's largest events of the year, the Downtown Festival & Art Show, arrives a month early this year and joins a cultural universe this weekend expected to draw thousands of visitors to seasonal events orbiting in and around Gainesville.
The list includes two other major outdoor events - ButterflyFest at the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Kanapaha Fall Festival - along with special musical performances and the debut of the Hippodrome's annual Halloween production, which proves that this time of year things can go bump in the daytime as well as through the night.
The weekend weather shouldn't be scaring anyone away: Forecasts call for mostly sunny highs in the mid 80s Saturday and Sunday, with a slight chance of showers on Sunday.
Here is a look at this weekend's major events. For more of what's planned, see the daily Calendar today and Saturday on page 2B.
DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL & ART SHOW: The 31st year of this annual wave of art crests early this year, moving up from the mid-November of years past, and is expected to draw 100,000 people to downtown with 250 artists, entertainment on three stages, street performers, and special concerts Friday night and Saturday at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza (see below); festival hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, First Street between Northeast First Avenue and Southeast Second Place. Free.
"FREE FRIDAYS" CONCERT: A musical journey around the world takes off Friday night courtesy of ensembles from UF's Center for World Arts, with Irish music from Fear Buile, steel-drum sounds from the Sunshine Steelers, traditional and popular Brazilian tunes from Jacaré Brazil, West African drumming and dance from Agbedidi Africa, and a variety of American jazz from the UF Jazz Combo; 8-10 tonight, Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Free.
DOWNTOWN BLUES CONCERT: Idaho native John Németh's vocals and blues harp have taken the blues world by storm and on Saturday he headlines this free concert that also features Gainesville's R. Mutt Blues Band and the Terraplane Blues Band; 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Free.
FLORIDA DANCE YOUNG DANCER WORKSHOP PERFORMANCES: This dance festival workshop for middle and high school students at Santa Fe College also features a Welcome Concert, 7:30 p.m. Friday, and a Formal Showcase, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, both in the Fine Arts Hall and both open to the public, Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83rd St. Tickets: $5 for the Welcome Concert, $10 to the Formal Showcase for the general public. (395-4181)
BUTTERFLYFEST: Countless butterflies released this weekend will fly high and so will visitors who can take in this free event complete with live entertainment, educational and children's activities, a Pollinator Parade each day and much more; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Florida Museum of Natural History. Festival is free, Butterfly Rainforest admission is $10.50 per adult, $9 Florida residents, $6 ages 3 to 17.
KANAPAHA FALL FESTIVAL: Go green in a myriad of ways at this annual event that features Kanapapa Botanical Gardens' Fall Plant Sale with 40 vendors, the American Orchid Society's judged orchid show - and free admission to the gardens on both days; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive. Free.
"CARRIE, A COMEDY": Yes, there will be blood in the Hippodrome Theatre's new Halloween production, but that may be drowned out by the laughs included in Erik Jackson's campy adaptation, which opens Friday night with five performances throughout the weekend; 8 p.m. today, 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Hippodrome Theatre, 25 SE Second Place. Tickets: $15-$35.
"PAPA'S BLUES": Also opening Friday night is this local production of Javon Johnson's play about a man whose father was slain during the civil rights era of the '60s; 8 p.m. today and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, 619 S. Main St. Tickets: $10-$12.
ENSEMBLE BASIANI: Named for a region in the southeastern part of the republic of Georgia, this vocal group is known for traditional folk songs and chants from the area and performs this weekend in Gainesville; 2 p.m. Sunday, University Auditorium. Tickets: $10-$25.
SUNDAY SOIREE: The monthly events patterned after musical celebrations held by the late arts supporter Doris Bardon continue Sunday in the community center named in her honor, this time with O'Reilly & Co. playing traditional Irish music; 4 p.m. Sunday, Doris Bardon Community Cultural Center, 716 N. Main St. Free, donations welcome.