HARRISBURG, Pa. — The City of Harrisburg announced in March that this year's Artsfest, the annual festival held over Memorial Day weekend that typically draws thousands to Riverfront Park, will go virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virtual festival will be held May 23-25, 2020.
This is the first time in the event's 52-year history that it has been held in a virtual format, organizers say.
“While we are saddened the crowds will not be able to gather along Riverfront Park for this popular Memorial Day weekend tradition, we are pleased to continue support through the virtual festival for the artisans and arts,” said Harrisburg mayor Eric Papenfuse in a press release.
The virtual Artsfest will feature activities for everyone to enjoy from the comfort of their own home, and participants can customize their experience with the following options:
- Virtual festival experience – Follow the Facebook event for a full virtual festival experience with specific dates and times for each activity and performance. View the digital program guide for scheduled dates and times of all experiences.
- Flexible festival experience – Visit http://harrisburgpa.gov/artsfest to enjoy all the festival activities, performances and online marketplace at a convenient day and time. Artsfest experiences will be available beyond the festival dates, ending on June 7.
An online artist marketplace will be available to browse and shop the handcrafted wares of nearly 200 artisans. Juried artisans and craftsmen from across the United States and Canada will offer handcrafted wares in sixteen categories: ceramics, digital, drawing, fiber (decorative and wearable), furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and wood.
Some artisans will offer specials and discounts valid only during the festival, according to organizers.
Throughout the festival, several artists will offer demonstrations sharing the process of how they create their pieces.
Performance videos featuring more than 10 bands and musicians will be available throughout the festival weekend. A Spotify playlist featuring Artsfest favorites and other local musicians will also be available.
There will also be a virtual KidsFest, featuring educational, arts-centric activities, according to organizers.
Some of the art-centric family activities include:
- Theatre lesson from Open Stage
- Special showing of the The Popcorn Hat Player’s show, Sleeping Beauty
- Custom Artsfest coloring page, designed by Nick Fasnacht Illustration and Design
- S.T.E.A.M. cosmic suncatcher craft presented by The Whitaker Center
- Step-by-step painting tutorial featuring a whimsical cow, similar to the iconic cow statues seen throughout the City, by Maureen Marks Art
- Dance classes provided by Lindy Central and The Studio
- STEAMtastic Room Design Challenge presented by Challenge Island Central PA
The “Art of Cooking” will also be demonstrated by local food vendors who will offer meal kits to-go and video tutorials on how to make recipes at home.
Meal kits will be available from these vendors before the festival:
- Knead HBG: order your pizza kit online at www.kneadhbg.com and pick up at the Knead Slice Shop Tuesday-Saturday between 12-5:45pm
- Sherri’s Crab Cakes: order your crab cake meal kit at www.sherriscrabcakes.com or call 717-761-3322 for pick up at the West Shore Farmer’s Market on Friday from 8am – 4pm or Saturday from 8am – 2pm. Meal kits can also be shipped.
- Stock’s on 2nd: order your fresh ingredients online by Thursday, May 21 at www.stocksonsecond.com and pick up at the restaurant Monday-Friday between 2-5pm (meal to be announced week prior to festival)
The Moviate Underground Film Fest will feature 12 short experimental and international curated films by 12 different filmmakers. FilmFest offers a wide range of viewership including “Fun More” by Wally Change and “Winter’s First Moons” by Kathy Rugh.
All activities are free to participate.