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Local News / Entertainment

Wednesday, 22 June, 2011 3:02 AM

Ann Arbor Summer Festival offers thrills over opening weekend

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Planet Rock Climbing Wall was on site at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival over opening weekend.

 

by Pete Bublitz
petblitz@yahoo.com

 

|

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Shifting in a different direction per performance, the Detroit Party Marching Band appropriately orchestrated their beats at the heart of Ingalls Mall during the high of the 2011 Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s opening day.

All around them, attendees settled or struggled amid enthused crowds to and from the special artists, food stands, and extracurricular climbing ages while the temp also climbed. Also ringing through the commotion was lone acoustic deliverance from Ryan Racine and more accompanied selections from Lucciana Costa, whose father Bob (that Costa? Of course not!) described her style as a kind of “Smart Pop.”

"This is our second time this year, but our first year living in Ann Arbor," said attendee Craig Waibel. "It's pretty awesome. This is Jocelyn, she came for the kids music tonight. Since we got the little one, it's nice to get out of the house and watch her and be entertained by all of the movement and the people. I think it's awesome the way the community loves this event and shows up on a nightly basis to support it. I think it provies that it's worth having. I know the kids enjoy it. It even gets better that way."

On Saturday, attendees were treated to performances by Abigail Stauffer, Theo Katzman, The Jill Jack Band and Oquesta Sensacional. In addition, Sean Masters was the featured DJ at the After Dark performance at The Grove.

Sunday brought the likes of the Deep Fried Pickle Project, The Board of Education and Drivin' Sideways. The animated film, Despicable Me, was screened at 10 p.m. In addition, he Detroit Fire Guild also performed that night.

"It's great, lots of good stuff for kids," said Jennifer Mayor, a resident of Taylor, Mich. "We heard a little of the music. It's good for families. My son wants to do the rock climbing wall. We can't stay that late for the movie. I want to come back next weekend to see what's going on next weekend."

Mondays are dark at the Top of the Park stage. However, the 33 1/3 series is scheduled at the Arbor Brewing Co. on June 27 and July 4. Those reading and listening parties are free of charge.

Two of the main stage shows are already sold out and one was almost sold out on Saturday, according to Amy Nesbitt, the festival's general manager. Tickets are no longer available for The Moth on June 23 at the Power Center or Steve Martin on June 25 at the Power Center. In addition, she said that Andrew Bird's performance at the Power Center was very close to selling out on June 18.

"We come every year, probably five or six times a year," said Kristi Hargett, another resident of Ann Arbor. "We came on Friday night on the night that it opened. My favorite part is hanging out, just visiting with friends and having free music. We love this location instead of up on top of the parking lot. We love it being here so it's wonderful."

Some of the upcoming performers that attendees will see on the main stage include Trombone Shory & Orleans Avenue, The Moth, Steve Martin, Los Lonely Boys, k.d. lang and The Siss Boom Bang, Taylor Mac, two performances of The Capitol Steps, two shows by the Tom Tom Crew and Pink Martini. Those shows will take place at either the Power Center, the Hill Auditorium or the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.

There is one new food choice at this year's Summer Festival. Frita Batidos replaced Tio's Mexican Cafe near the Top of the Park stage. Culinary Row also includes Noodles & Company, Oasis Grill, Ray's Red Hots, Silvio's Organic Pizza, Stucci's, Sugar Shack, and Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea. in addition, there is beer, wine and Coca-Cola products available for purchase.

"This is my first time here ever so it's fun," said Lauren Martic of Saline, Mich. "I like just standing here talking to all of my friends. The songs are pretty funny so it's fun to listen to. I will not be staying for the movie, I have a curfew."

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival is working with with the world-famous Ann Arbor Film Festival to screen some short films on the inflatable outdoor stage. New flicks and classic films will follow the shorts on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the run of the festival. Some of this year's films are Despicable Me, The Social Network, Back to the Future, Top Gun, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and How to Train Your Dragon, among many others. Bring a folding chair or a blanket to lay on the grass and enjoy the movies, which start at 10 p.m.

Remember there is a $3 suggested donation per person or $5 suggested donation per family to help the festival pay for the entertainment and other various production costs. Other events at Ingalls Mall include face painting, a portable climbing wall, a KidZone tent, yoga classes, tai chi and chi kung classes, global parties and acrobatics.

"I've enjoyed it, I've only been three days so far," said Paul Davis, an attendee from Ann Arbor, Mich., who has been attending the festival since 1986. "Nothing's been rained out so far, that's usually the biggest disappointment. They always have interesting music acts and the show inside was real good last night. Some of the bands like the young lady who was singing last night has been here before so. Also, it's fun because there's bands you haven't seen. The movies are very child oriented a lot of them, there's a few adult. It's not quite as many classic movies as they used to have."

For more information on Ann Arbor Summer Festival, visit www.annarborsummerfestival.org.

Related Story: PREVIEW: 28th Annual Ann Arbor Summer Festival kicks off on June 17 and runs through July 10

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Ryan Racine performed in The Grove area on Friday, June 17.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

More of the kids on the rock climbing wall

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Frita Batidos is a new food choice for 2011.

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Body Masterpiece face painting inside the KidZone tent

 

PHOTO BY PETE BUBLITZ / ©AMERICAJR.com

Lucciana Costa gets ready for her performance on Friday evening.

 

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