Art Festival celebrates seventh year this weekend

Old Town Art Festival is celebrating its seventh year with its thriving artists this weekend, Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Coffee Hag has helped provide them an outlet since 1992 to put on music for guests to enjoy at the event.

Because it would rain every year when the festival was put on in June, this year the event has changed to September when guests started to enjoy cooler weather but the warm fires and spirits of each other.

“Another change, is that the music will not end at sun down. There will be bands playing at Midtown Tavern, including the popular Mankato based Good Night Gold Dust,” said event organizer Esther Marcella.

The Singing Cowgirl, a professional entertainer for more than 30 years, has the privilege of kicking off with her show at 11. She has admired John Denver and had the opportunity to meet him. Since then, she has performed all over the country and this year alone will host 400 shows.

Among other musicians, The Rough & Tumble is a multi-instrumental folk American band consisting of a husband and wife team, Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler. They played for the Coffee Hag this summer and will return with their passionate voices and their two endearing little dogs who have joined them on the road for the last two years. They have a couple of new recent releases called

“Pieces and Pieces” (2016) and a Christmas CD, “Cardboard and Christmas” (February 2017).

Other musicians playing throughout the event include Ted and Alice Miller, Kaleb Braun-Schulz, Rakstar Fuzion Nate Leboutillier, Jim the Harpooner, Ian Himer, and The Tinderbox.

The Millers, from northeast Nebraska, express their stories from the Midwestern lives they have experienced love harmonies.

Jim the Harpooner is a two-man musical dreadnaught which Nate Voots and Travis Friedrichs lead and that strives to bring large-scale sea atmospherics echoing back to the Midwest in the form of shovel and bucket-infused sea chanties and other noise.

The Tinder Box is a down-to-earth band that combines rock and blues with driving rhythms, elevated melodies, complementary trumpet fills, and full harmonies. They’ve marked their fame in Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, and Minneapolis but also are known over the radio in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.

If anyone is wondering about what they should do about their future, someone will be present to read tarot cards— Melody Taylor, local author, musician, and psychic. Normally she sells her books at the event, but this year she will be offering tarot readings for the first time at the festival. She has offered readings at the Coffee Hag before for those who want to come have their cards read or has done it at other places before.

“I feel like the cards often surprise people,” Taylor said. “Mostly with being more accurate than what they expect.”

Taylor will read from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Along with the musicians and Taylor, belly and fire dancers will also enthrall any attenders later that evening. Vendors are also among the following: Heather’s Handmade Arts and Henna—henna, rocks, dream catchers; James Mackey with fantastical landscapes, JK Arts with paintings, and Crossstich Collective.

“There is a great sense of an all-inclusive community and a celebratory expression of yourself and others,” said Marcella. “This is a fair for anyone who loves art and music and other people.”

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