(Featured photo: The group Aerial Nomad performs at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta on September 16, 2023. Mike Adams/Augusta Good News)
On a sunny Saturday, thousands of people thronged downtown Augusta for the annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta.
The aromas of food from around the world intermingled around the Augusta Common as guests sampled cuisine from many countries including Ireland, South Sudan, the Philippines and Germany.
Multiple stages offered samplings of music, dance and dramatic arts in a variety of genre. At the global stage, children from Musical Theatre Workshops sang selections from Annie while dancers took to the family area stage.
Erica Pastecki-Boocker and Heather Dunaway staffed the family area which offered young guests the chance to travel the world and have fun all while learning about another country.
Upon arriving at the tent, children received passports and a pair of wings’ sticker to signal the start on their journey. At each country, children wrote down where they were and what they learned. Once they filled their passport, they received a goodie bag.
As she passed by Boocker, one parent proclaimed that they’d outdone themselves this year with the activities.
Also in the family area was a “social canvas” that children could paint. It will hang in the City Gallery at the Municipal Building after the festival.
Children could make crafts, draw on the sidewalk with chalk and have their faces painted.
Some children participated in the Young Artist Market selling items they’d made such as jewelry and pottery. Boocker said it was the largest youth market ever at Arts in the Heart.
More than 130 artists lined Broad Street with a variety of handcrafted items such as paintings, jewelry, woodwork and leather goods. Several non-profits including the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta Players, Augusta Chorale, Westobou, Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History and Augusta Choral Society shared their missions from inside their tents.
Local artists painted live in the Artzilla tent at the common.
Business owners said that the festival brought crowds into their shops as well.
The Book Tavern is located just inside the festival gates, and owner David Hutchison said he had good traffic on Saturday. He’s offering a special during the festival. People who purchase $50 or more from the shop receive a free popsicle courtesy of locally-owned Augusta Pop Co.
The three-day festival opened Friday, Sept. 15 and ends Sunday, Sept. 17. The final day of the festival will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the gates.
Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at email@example.com.
Mike Adams has won numerous Georgia Press Association awards for photography. Subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.
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