Paseo Arts Festival gets greener, adds more artists, new food vendors and more
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To learn about more Memorial Day weekend events happening around the state, click here.
Paseo Arts Festival gets greener
Along with added sustainability projects, the venerable event this year includes more artists, new food vendors and an extra Oklahoma focus in its music lineup.
With more visual artists, a stronger lineup of performers and new food vendors, the Paseo Arts Festival promises to get brighter and more colorful in its 36th year.
Perhaps the most prominent shade for the annual Memorial Day event tradition will be green, with a new children’s area that promotes sustainability and a large-scale sculpture that gets festival-goers recycling.
The free festival will offer 88 artist booths, two live entertainment stages, three children’s areas and more from Saturday through Monday in the historic Paseo Arts District, between NW 28 and Walker and NW 30 and Dewey.
The festival partners annually with the Sierra Club with the goal of recycling at least 75 percent of the waste at the event, said Jo Wise, executive director of festival organizers the Paseo Arts Association.
Along with two longstanding children’s areas — Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan’s Paper Play Theatre, where youngsters can craft whimsical creations out of paper, vintage photos and more, and the “Artists of the Future” tent, where children make sock puppets, clay sculptures, spin art and more — the festival this year will introduce PicnicLand.
PicnicLand will offer a large green space where event-goers can feast on festival fare on shady grass or at umbrella-covered tables, partake of free cool water and mist and peruse booths with hands-on teaching activities. Geared toward children but open to all ages, the area will be set up on the grounds of the historic apartment building under renovation at 612 NW 29. The building is the future home of the nonprofit sixtwelve.
“It will be a creative, sustainable community space,” said sixtwelve co-founder James Varnum. “You can see and make and learn how to participate in and create art, music, film, gardening, cooking and even having animals so you can live locally in a fun and vibrant way.”
PicnicLand will allow sixtwelve to begin its mission at the festival before its revamped home even opens. Sustainable OKC, Science Museum Oklahoma, the Oklahoma City Office of Sustainability, the Oklahoma Food Coop, Fertile Ground Compost Services, Commonwealth Urban Farms, the Sierra Club, and OG&E will be part of the green initiative.
Activities at PicnicLand will include gardening, composting, a livestock petting zoo, science and bicycle repair demonstrations, an open mike music area and “upcycling” projects that will teach families to transform trash into works of art.
“The Paseo Arts Festival actually was the first here to start a festival-wide recycling program … and the sorting of the recycling itself is going to be happening at this site,” Varnum said. “I want to reach out to people who aren’t necessarily thinking about this kind of thing and show that it’s fun and easy.”
This week, festival chairman Collin Rosebrook was building the 16-foot-long and 4-foot-diameter framework for a recycling sculpture that dubbed “The Earthworm.” Festival-goers will add plastic drinking bottles to the worm to bring it to artistic life.
“We thought it would be something fun to draw awareness to recycling,” he said.
“It’ll be a creative recycle bin for bottles.”
Along with its growing green programs, the festival is expanding this year its popular shuttle service. For the third year, attendees can save gas and headaches by parking at First Christian Church, 3700 N Walker, and taking a free shuttle to the festival.
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