A tradition for 41 years, Festival in the Park, presented by Pepsi, makes its return May 15, 16 and 17, and this year, tradition will have a few new twists.
“We wanted to breathe new life into festival,” said Anna Pickeral, board president. “This is a long-standing tradition in Danville and many people look forward to coming every year. This year, we really focused on ways to keep the event fresh while keeping the traditions going.”
The festival will feature -- of course -- craft and food vendors, music, rides and children’s activities, business exhibitors and community service organizations. This year’s festival also will feature several new events and a new layout.
“Festival in the Park started in 1974 as a small community event,” Pickeral said. “We are proud to continue showcasing the amazing talents of our community while adding some exciting activities and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.”
A color run, sand sculpting, an aquatic dog competition, and human foosball are among the new activities.
The festival will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 16, and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 17.
Festival in the Park would not be possible without the involvement of community sponsorships and volunteers.
Sponsors include Pepsi, URW Community Federal Credit Union, Danville Distributing, Norhurst Professional Services, Danville Regional Medical Center, Danville Toyota Scion, Danville Dental Associates, Danville Parks and Recreation, Comfort Inn, Trophy and Sign Center, Burrell Bonding Company, Piedmont Security Insurance Agency, Inc., Negril, Big Sky Rents and Events, Chandler Concrete Company, Thunder Road Harley Davidson, Virginia Bank and Trust, Thunder Road Harley Davidson and Fire Safe Safety Services.
Check out some of the great special events coming to this year’s Festival in the Park:
Musical Entertainment on the Bud Light Main Stage
• Ray Scott - 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 15. National recording artist, Ray Scott, released his debut album "My Kind of Music" in 2005 to enormous critical acclaim. Other hits include "You Drive Me Crazy," "The Prayer," "The Train's Done Gone," and "Boll Weevil Junction."
• The Cadillac Three – 7:45 p.m., Friday, May 15. The Cadillac Three is a high-energy trio who describes its sound as “country fuzz.” Composed of three Nashville natives, Jaren Johnston, Kelby Ray and Neil Mason, have weathered wild adventures as a Country group with a rockin’ edge. They have opened for acts like ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Church and Eli Young Band.
• The Band Concord – 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Saturday, May 16. Known for its love and playing of all things folk, The Band Concord shares a similar sound to that of The Head and the Heart and Fleet Foxes. Yet the group has expanded its musical palette even further with the release of its debut album, "Youth" in April 2014 - introducing a twist to its traditional folk style with emphasized pop sound in the single "Golden Road."
• Ban Caribe – 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Saturday, May 16. Ban Caribe is an exciting blend of Latin, Caribbean and Soulful Rhythm and Blues. Music based on the Afro-Clave is all held together with pulsating percussion. Ban Caribe presents an unforgettable sound of soulful singing and Latin rhythms that trigger memories of tropical sands, balmy island breezes and the clear water of paradise.
• Dead 27s – 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 16. Since 2012, this band has been on a mission. Relentlessly making its way through the booming Charleston, S.C., music scene, the Dead 27s garnered the attention and praise of local media, calling it, "the exciting new band to watch" and fan support soon followed. In 2013 and 2014, Dead 27s took home multiple Charleston City Paper Music Awards for “Song of the Year” ("Don't Want to Live My Life Without You" 2013, "Don't Comfort Me" 2014), “Rock Band of the Year” (2013/2014), “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” (2013), and "Album of the Year" ("Chase Your Devils Down" 2014). In April 2014 and to much critical acclaim, Dead 27s released its 7 song debut, "Chase Your Devils Down.” In summer 2014, the band was honored to place in the top 24 for Vh1's “Make a Band Famous” competition.
• 6th N Main – 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., Sunday, May 17. The contemporary Christian styling of 6th and Main represents a new addition to the Sunday lineup.
• Gospel in the Park- 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., May 17. Gospel in the Park will wrap up three days of great music with the spiritual music of Spiritual Keys, Loving Sisters and Golden Wings Quartet.
• Nestlé 5K - 9 a.m., Saturday, May 16. The 25th Annual Nestle 5K Richard Long Memorial Run/Walk/Wheelchair to benefit Special Olympics and Special Populations will starts at 9 a.m. The 1-mile fun run for kids 12 and under will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the cost is $15. Any and all ages are welcome to participate in the 5K Run or Walk or Wheelchair. The 5K Run/Walk will begin at 9 a.m. with an early registration fee of $25 before race day and $30 on race day.
• Color Me Danville Color Run - 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., May 16. Color Me Danville, presented by Danville Regional Medical Center and Danville Parks and Recreation, is the first color run to hit the streets (and parks) of Danville. Join us for this crazy run during Festival in the Park. If you don't want to run, but want to throw some color, we'll take you. Stick around after the race for the after party until 10 p.m. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Entertainment provided by DJ Bob Turner. Volunteer or register at www.PlayDanvilleVA.com/440/color-me-danville.
Special Art Activities and Exhibits in Ballou Recreation Center
• Fine Art Show – during all Festival hours. Drop in to see some amazing works of art and maybe purchase a piece to take home. The show will be judged and monetary prizes awarded. A few artist spots are still available; the cost is $75 to enter. For more information or to enter the show, call 434-793-4636.
• Danville Photography Club Exhibit – during all Festival hours. Check out the Danville Photography Club’s exhibit featuring some of the finest photographs of the surrounding community as well as a few exotic treats.
• Children’s Mosaic Classes – 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., May 16. Children ages 7 – 18 are invited to join mosaic artist Jody Rathgeb for these one-of-a-kind instructional classes on creating mosaics. Students will be able to take home their creations after the Festival. Classes are first-come, first-serve and are limited to 15 students per class. To register for this class, call Lynette Anderson at (434) 793-4636. The cost is $5.
Special Events and Exhibits
• Sand Sculptor Alan Matsumoto – various times, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15 – 17. Alan Matsumoto is a former structural engineer who has won six world championships with his sand sculpting teammates and has been a Canadian National Snow sculpting Champion twice. He has also held a Guinness World Record in sand sculpting. Not only will Matsumoto be sculpting a one-of-a-kind sand sculpture during Festival in the Park, he will also give pointers and tips to the kiddos in the children’s sand sculpting area.
• DockDogs – various times, May 15 - 17. DockDogs is the world's premier canine aquatics competition. Check out what all the hype is about during the three-day contest featuring several competitions, high-flying K9s and more. A full show schedule can be found at FestivalintheParkofDanville.com.
• Cruizin’ By the Park - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 16. Check out or enter the Third Annual Cruizin' By The Park" car show presented by River City Mustang Club. Register on site beginning at 8 a.m. Registration will close at 12:30 p.m. and the awards presentation will take place at 3:30 p.m. The show will be held in the Ballou Park Shopping Center and is free to the viewing public. Entry fees are $20 for cars and trucks and $10 for motorcycles. Display only vehicles will cost $10. Download an entry form at FestivalintheParkofDanville.com.
URW Kid’s Zone Special Activities
• Human Foosball – Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15 – 17. The good folks at Danville Parks and Recreation have taken foosball to a whole new level. During Festival in the Park weekend, the human foosball table will be unveiled for your enjoyment. It is a little hard to describe, so check it out in person.
• Community Mural – May 15 – 17. If coloring in a coloring book is therapeutic, imagine coloring a 20-foot-long wall. Check out the Festival in the Park Community Mural in the kid’s zone and make your mark.
• Junk Jams – May 16 – 17. No music experience required to participate in this percussion program. Using a collection of instruments from pots, buckets and recycled materials, festival goers can jam out in 15 – 20 minute drum circles.