Festifall to Crowd Franklin Street Sunday

CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill’s 41st annual Festifall on Franklin Street is Sunday.

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“We always get excited for this beautiful event. It’s been voted the last 3 consecutive years as Chapel Hill’s best event,” event organizer Wes Tilghman says.

Festifall is on West Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill.  Tilghman and Chapel Hill Public Library staff member, Megan Rosen say this year the event is bigger than ever.

Attendees can expect art, music, live performances, local food, good reads, and plenty of dancing.

“We’ve got over 80 artists, 4 live performance areas, and we’re going to invite some of the local restaurants to the streets with us to join in,” Tilghman says.

Six blocks of West Franklin Street will be filled with all types of different artists, and community organizations from the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area. Over 120 different exhibitors will be at the festival.

Chapel Hill’s newly expanded and improved Public Library will host one of the exhibits with a digital book-mobile. And Rosen says it won’t be hard for the attraction to catch your attention.

“We’re bringing in an 18-wheeler that’s loaded for bear,” Rosen says, “It’s a 74-foot long tractor trailer, that’s tricked out with broadband internet access, HD monitors, an awesome sound system, and lots of interactive video and instructional material about downloading e-books from the Chapel Hill Public Library.”

Rosen says library staff members will be there to answer questions, help people browse the library collections, and see what it is the new library has to offer.

“We’re really hoping to expand people’s awareness of their community-owned resources at the library,” Rosen says.

WCHL’s own Aaron Keck will host the Dance Evolution stage. The stage will feature a lot of different types of dance, and dance productions.

“They’re going to get the crowd pretty involved, so you might find yourself on stage,” Tilghman says, “There will be lots of fun, local entertainers that everyone knows, and have heard before.”

Tilghman and Rosen hope you come out Sunday to support local artists, to purchase gifts, to grub on great, local dishes; or go to browse 6 blocks of Chapel Hill and Carrboro’s finest.

For more information about Festifall, click here.


The ArtsCenter launches 12th Annual 10 by 10 Play Festival

CHAPEL HILL – On Friday, The ArtsCenter in Carrboro kicks off  its twelfth annual 10 by 10 play festival. Ten actors, led by ten guest directors, will take the stage  for ten ten-minute plays. Ron Stutts sat down with The ArtsCenter’s Artistic Director of Arts Center Stage, Jeri Lynn Schulke, to find out what viewers can expect from this year’s 10 by 10 festival.

Schulke says playwrights from all over the world sent their plays to The ArtsCenter for the chance to have their play performed. This year, The ArtsCenter received over 750 scripts this year.

“We get scripts from all over the country and in fact all over the world,” says Schulke. “We whittle that down to a fantastic ten plays.”

These plays range from an art installation by a bear in Sweden to a series of detective stories. Ten guest directors incorporate their own styles into each play, adding diversity than can appeal to any audience member, says Schulke.

“What I like about 10 by 10 is that you see these great actors play a variety of different roles, and then they get to work with lots of different directors,” says Schulke. “And if you don’t like one, wait ten minutes, and they’ll be another play, and you’ll love that one.”

The ArtCenter’s 10 by 10 festival holds historical significance, since it is one of the oldest ten-minute play festivals in the country.

“We are the third oldest ten-minute play festival,” says Schulke.

The festival begins this weekend and ends on July 21st. Vimala’s Curryblossom Café is catering the event.

“Audiences get to see ten great short plays and an evening of really great theater,” says Schulke. “Ten actors, ten directors, ten plays, ten by ten.”

For more information on the 10 by 10 play festival, you can go to The ArtsCenter’s website, artscenterlive.org, or call the box office for tickets at (919)-929-2787.


Plans Stall for a Cultural Center at Hillsborough’s Whitted Building

HILLSBOROUGH- Supporters of the Orange County Cultural Center say Hillsborough’s historic Whitted Building is the perfect place to host art events and performances, but neighbors say they’re not so sure.

Andrea Riley is chair of the OCCC’s Board of Directors. She says her group has been looking for a location for nearly 10 years.

“For the Orange County Cultural Center to exist, we have to have the chance to use this particular space at this particular time,” said Riley. “We have not found any other viable solution.”

But neighbors living on Tryon Street worry that the center’s plan to host performances, conferences, weddings and other events in the Whitted Building will ruin the small-town feel of Hillsborough’s historic district.

Steve Gardner was one of a handful of Tryon Street residents who shared their concerns with the board of county commissioners last week.

“The residents of this neighborhood did not sign up for and could never have envisioned living next door to an event house hosting everything from large conferences to weddings, events that will clog our streets with vehicular traffic, cause unacceptable levels of noise, and require street closures and re-routing and police to manage traffic flow,” said Gardner.

County commissioners agreed last week to set aside $1.5 million to renovate the space for government meetings, but held off on approving a plan that would have guaranteed space for the cultural center.

Instead, the board voted to explore how a broad range of Orange County’s arts organizations could use the space.

“We’re not making this exclusive to the Orange County Cultural Center,” said Bernadette Pelissier. “I think I’ve heard most everybody say it needs to be open to other nonprofits. So we want to engage all the nonprofits related to the arts.”

The board also urged cultural center representatives to reach out to neighbors before bringing their plan for a performance space back for consideration.

The renovations to the Whitted Building will take place over the summer. Commissioners will discuss other uses for the space sometime this fall.