Fine Arts Fiesta begins today

Last updated: May 14. 2014 11:37PM - 3504 Views
By - mbiebel@timesleader.com

Headliner Gary U.S. Bonds will perform on Saturday evening during the Fine Arts Fiesta, which opens today.
Headliner Gary U.S. Bonds will perform on Saturday evening during the Fine Arts Fiesta, which opens today.
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10 a.m. Wyoming Valley West High School Chamber Chorus

11 a.m. Wyoming Valley West High School String Orchestra

Noon: Opening ceremonies

12:30 p.m. E.L. Meyers High School Jazz Band

1:45 p.m. Coughlin High School Jazz and Concert Band

3 p.m. Wilkes-Barre All-Area Orchestra

4 p.m. Wyoming Valley West Jazz Band

5 p.m. Perfect Harmony School for the Performing Arts

5:45 p.m. Wyoming Valley Barbershop Harmony Chorus

6:30 p.m. Awards ceremony

7:30 p.m. Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre


10 a.m. Wyoming Valley West Middle School Honors Orchestra

11 a.m. Wyoming Valley West Middle School Chorus

Noon: Dallas Middle School Select Chorus

2:30 p.m. Liar Liar (Rock, Pop, Oldies, and Modern)

4 p.m. Keystone Kids Star Makers

5 p.m. Contestants for Miss Pennsylvania/Miss America

5:45 p.m. Doug Smith’s Dixieland All-Stars featuring vocalist Erin Malloy

7:30 p.m. LondonForce (Alternative Rock and Dance)


10 a.m. The Mozart Club

11 a.m. The Joan Harris Dancers

Noon: The Conservatory of Dance

1 p.m. YOUniversal Suzuki Strings

2 p.m. Dance Theatre of Wilkes-Barre

3 p.m. Theatre At The Grove

4:15 p.m. Suzuki School For Strings

5 p.m. Conservatory Choir

5:45 p.m. NEPA Academy of Dancing

8 p.m. Fine Arts Fiesta Feature: Gary U.S. Bonds

SUNDAY, May 18

11 a.m. Annual Spring Poetry Society Contest and Reading, The Wyoming Valley Poetry Society

Noon SOS (Jazz and Funk)

2 p.m. Taikoza-Japanese Taiko Drummers

4 p.m. David Blight School of Dance

5 p.m. George Wesley’s I-Tations


What: Fine Arts Fiesta

Where: Public Square, Wilkes-Barre

When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today and Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Admission: Free

More information: See Page 5A for site map


In conjunction with the Fine Arts Fiesta on Public Square you can find more art at such nearby downtown locations as Genetti’s on Market Street, Barnes & Noble, Marquis Art & Frame and Bart & Urby’s on South Main Street, the Wyoming Valley Art League, Luzerne County Historical Society and St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral on South Franklin Street and the Downtown Arts building on North Franklin Street. See fineartsfiesta.org for details.

In case you’re wondering how Gary U.S. Bonds got his unusual name, the Fine Arts Fiesta headliner explains it was all his manager’s idea.

“He whipped that up,” Bonds said in a telephone interview, adding the gentleman may have been influenced by a favorite delicatessen where the owner displayed “a huge American flag and a life-size poster of Uncle Sam.”

Believing radio DJs would mistake Bond’s records for public service announcements about buying savings bonds, his manager gave him the new moniker in an attempt to get extra air time.

Whether the DJs were fooled, it’s a good story — and rock-and-roll, rhythm-and-blues artist Bonds will have plenty of other anecdotes to share during his concert, along with such hits as “New Orleans,” “Quarter to Three” and “School is Out.”

Before Bonds, 74, takes the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday, festival-goers can enjoy several days of fiesta fun on Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square.

The event opens this morning with high-school choruses and jazz bands, dancers and community thespians, barbershop harmony and a wealth of other musicians.

Artists-in-residence will demonstrate watercolor painting, the creation of wheel-thrown ceramics and the care of bonsai trees while storytellers spin tales and librarians help children create make-and-take bookmarks.

Tent after tent will showcase the prize-winning works of adult and student artists, and vendors will offer jewelry and photographs and all sorts of crafty items.

Praising the diverse range of arts you can find at the fiesta, Wilkes-Barre resident Robert Collins, 28, said he still has fond memories of attending as a child with his classmates from Dodson Elementary School.

“It’s a tradition. It’s not really summer yet, but it kicks off the summer season,” said Collins, who earlier this week was happy to be a volunteer applying a fresh coat of white paint to the pegboards where paintings were to be hung.

While some fiesta-goers love the art, or the chance to socialize, or the live entertainment, others are quick to mention the food. Along with the all-American ice cream, French fries and potato pancakes, you can find such international cuisine as falafel, Jamaican jerk chicken, chicken-sausage combo and gourmet tacos.

Bonds, for one, suspects he’ll be spending some time perusing the vendors’s stalls, if his wife and daughter, both named Laurie and singing back-up for him, have their way.

“My wife drags me along,” he said with a laugh.

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