Festifall 2015-CANCELED

Due to the threat of inclement weather on Sunday, the Town of Chapel Hill has decided to cancel the 43rd annual Festifall Arts Festival.

Festifall 2015
West Franklin Street
Downtown Chapel Hill
October 4, 2015

Join thousands in downtown Chapel Hill for the 43rd annual Festifall Arts Festival on October 4th, 2015! It is an extraordinary opportunity for the community, art enthusiasts and artists to interact. A variety of performing arts and a vibrant market of handmade artworks present a day of discovery for the festival’s attendees as they engage with the local art community. Historic West Franklin Street in Downtown Chapel Hill provides a beautiful backdrop to our celebration of arts culture in our community.

See the biggest acts on the WCHL Main Stage!  Here, attendees will find up and coming bands, popular local artists, and musical ensembles who really know how to rock the stage!



2016 Chapel Hill Festifall Attracts 15,000 Attendees

More than 15,000 residents and visitors filled West Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill on Sunday for the 44th Festifall Arts Festival.

The town announced the attendance figure in a release on Wednesday.

The event hosted more than 100 area artists and had live performances from local musicians and dance groups.

The town says the average group size for out of town visitors at Festifall was 2.8 people per group. Officials surveyed 256 attendees and found that 61 percent of those at the arts festival were local with the other 39 percent coming in from out of town. The estimates also showed that the visitors spent more than $220,000 at the event.

You can take a survey to let town officials know how the festival can be improved in the coming years.


Festifall Back On Sunday After Business Concerns

Mark your calendars, because Chapel Hill’s annual Festifall event is officially set for Sunday, October 2 – though not without a little controversy behind the scenes.

Earlier this month, town officials actually announced the event would take place on a Saturday this year, instead of the usual Sunday. That’s because the town had to cancel the event on short notice last year due to bad weather – and officials said holding the event on a Saturday would leave that Sunday as a make-up date in case the same thing happened again. (Town manager Roger Stancil also said a Saturday Festifall would likely generate a larger attendance.)

But downtown business owners spoke out strongly against the decision, with restaurant owners leading the way. 411 West managing partner Tommy O’Connell said a Saturday Festifall would be “devastating to evening business” on one of the busiest nights of the week.

On Tuesday, business leaders shared their concerns with Meg McGurk of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership. After the meeting, McGurk said it had been a good conversation.

“It was a great meeting,” she said. “I really applaud our business community that has a strong voice, (and) I applaud our town partners in the Events and Parks & Recreation Departments (for) being able to have a very open dialogue.”

Following that meeting, town officials reconsidered their decision – and on Thursday, Stancil sent an email to other staff confirming Festifall would be on a Sunday after all.

Chapel Hill has held Festifall on Sunday for the last 44 years, according to Stancil. This year’s event on October 2 will run from 11:30 am to 6 pm on West Franklin Street, with an artists’ market, food trucks, three performance stages, and much more. About 12,000 people are expected to attend.

For more info on this year’s Festifall, visit their website.


Festival in the Park


Chapel Hill Keeps Festifall 2015 Alive

Every fall, Chapel Hill is treated to the Festifall Arts Festival.

But, earlier in October, the 43rd annual Festifall Arts Festival was cancelled due to the threat of severe weather.  It was the first time that Festifall has been cancelled.  Up until 1995, the Town of Chapel Hill reserved a rain date for the event each year for the following Sunday.  But, the event grew in size and complexity.  This made the logistics and expense of a rain date not feasible for the Town, artists, entertainers, and contractors.

But, despite Festifall’s cancellation, the Town of Chapel Hill has found a way to bring the popular event back.

Immerse yourself in the arts with the Festifall virtual artist market.  You can browse and shop with the unique vendors of Festifall online until Friday, October 23.

This one of a kind event will feature over 30 artisans from all over the South representing the finest in painting, photography, jewelry, glass, ceramics, wood, metal, fiber and mixed media artworks.

Amanda Fletcher, Supervisor of Festivals and Community Celebrations with the Town of Chapel Hill says:

“Festifall may have been cancelled, but the fun isn’t over! We wanted to give our talented artists from our juried show the opportunity to showcase their work and promote their business with our online community. Artists have been very receptive to the idea and have created some great discounts and products for our patrons!”

Debi L. Drew, a participating artist stated:

“After the considerate cancellation of Festifall, due to inclement weather and safety concerns for the public and artists, Chapel Hill’s Festifall team has come up with a superb opportunity for all involved. The Online Market gives us a new venue to showcase our uniquely handcrafted items to the community. What a wonderful solution!”

Follow Festifall on Facebook and Twitter to receive notifications regarding the special discounts and sales.

But, that is not all.

Mark your calendars.  Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation will promote a Festival in the Park event on Saturday, November 14, from 12pm-4pm, featuring Live Entertainment, Food Trucks and some of your favorite community arts organizations.

festival in the parkAbout the park take over, Amanda says, ”

“Hundreds of park patrons and soccer leagues players are already scheduled to be at the park on this date, and we plan to build on that momentum, to invite the community to join us for a park take over and community event.”

See list of vendors and performers here.

Presented by Food Lion, the Food Lion Better Bus will make a stop in the park too, with shopping cart races and free park survival kits full of great foods and snacks for everyone. Don’t miss all the fun, and join us for a Festival in the Park at Southern Community Park!


Festifall 2015 Canceled

Festifall 2015 has been canceled.

The 43rd annual Festifall Arts Festival was scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 4, 2015.  In a statement, Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department Director Jim Orr said:

“Safety is our No. 1 priority, and with the threat of high winds and rain, we felt it to be in everyone’s best interest to cancel.  We appreciate all of the hard work of our staff, vendors, artists, food trucks, and entertainers that went into the pre-planning of this event.”

More information about Festifall 2015 can be found at chapelhillfestifall.com.

The National Weather Service expects 2-4 inches of rain to fall in the Chapel Hill area by Sunday.  That includes steady rain on Friday and Saturday with spottier rain on Sunday – both from Joaquin and from another system that’s also threatening North Carolina.  Hurricane Joaquin may lead to more rain later in the weekend and into Monday.

Four inches of rain isn’t as much as other parts of the state are expecting to receive, but it’s still more than enough to create the threat of flash floods, downed trees, and other dangers. Orange County is under a flash flood watch from now through 8:00 Sunday evening. Orange County Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Thursday night, following Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the entire state earlier in the day.

National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says the danger won’t necessarily end when the rain does: there’s also the potential for flooding rivers and streams early next week, as all the rainwater washes into the waterways.


NWS: Expect At Least 2-4 Inches Of Rain By Sunday

The unpredictability of Hurricane Joaquin makes the forecast uncertain, but National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sharp says Orange County should expect about 2-4 inches of rain between now and Sunday.

That includes steady rain on Friday and Saturday with spottier rain on Sunday – both from Joaquin and from another system that’s also threatening North Carolina. (Sunday’s weather will hinge more heavily on the hurricane’s track.)

Four inches of rain isn’t as much as other parts of the state are expecting to receive, but it’s still more than enough to create the threat of flash floods, downed trees, and other dangers. Orange County is under a flash flood watch from now through 8:00 Sunday evening. Orange County Commissioners declared a state of emergency on Thursday night, following Governor Pat McCrory’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the entire state earlier in the day.

And Sharp says the danger won’t necessarily end when the rain does: there’s also the potential for flooding rivers and streams early next week, as all the rainwater washes into the waterways.

Listen to Sharp’s conversation with WCHL’s Aaron Keck on Thursday.


For now, the town of Chapel Hill is going forward with plans for Festifall on Sunday afternoon. Town officials will receive an update from the National Weather Service at 11:00 Friday morning, though, and organizers will make a decision after that whether to cancel the festival. Festivals and Community Celebrations Supervisor Amanda Fletcher says the wind is actually as big a factor as the rain: if the wind is blowing faster than 20 miles an hour, the festival’s tents won’t be safe. (The forecast currently calls for blustery weather on Saturday, but Sunday – again – is still uncertain.)

Listen to Fletcher’s conversation with Aaron Keck on Thursday.


Fletcher says that as far as she knows, Festifall hasn’t been cancelled due to weather in the past – and certainly not due to the threat of a hurricane.

The last major flood Chapel Hill faced was on June 30, 2013, when the town saw five inches of rain fall in the space of a couple hours. The forecast for this weekend’s storm isn’t quite as bad – but Joaquin’s effect is still yet to be determined.


This Weekend, DSI Hosts 24-Hour Comedy Marathon

It’s an annual tradition for Chapel Hill’s DSI Comedy Theater, and it begins on Saturday night:

At 8:30 p.m., eight improv comedians will take the DSI stage and begin performing – and they won’t stop for 24 straight hours.

It’s the eleventh annual 24LIVE Comedy Marathon, which has been raising money for local charities since it first launched in 2003. The eight “core” performers – joined throughout by a steady stream of other Triangle-area performers – are longtime comics from several of DSI’s top teams, some of them veterans of marathons past.

For more info on 24LIVE and ticket information, visit DSIComedy.com.

This year’s 24LIVE will be raising money for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Ten dollars buys a wristband that’ll get you in anytime during the marathon – so you can stay for the full 24 hours (some do!) or come and go as you please.

(And yes, they’ll be performing at 4 in the morning too. “We want this to be a comedy slumber party,” says DSI’s Ashley Melzer.)

Part of this year’s 24LIVE coincides with Festifall on Franklin Street, which runs from noon to 6:00 on Sunday afternoon. DSI is located at 462 West Franklin Street, right in the midst of the festival – so you may see some of the core performers on the street as well. And in the theater itself, DSI will be devoting that six-hour block to family-friendly comedy, so families at Festifall can stop by the theater too.

Zach Ward and Ashley Melzer of the DSI Comedy Theater joined Aaron Keck on WCHL this week.


It’s Festifall Time!

It wouldn't be Festifall with out Ron Stutts and WCHL!

It wouldn’t be Festifall with out Ron Stutts and WCHL!

It’s October, and that means it’s time for Festifall!

Chapel Hill’s annual fall festival draws about 15,000 people each year to Franklin Street for a street party featuring arts, crafts, music, dance, magic, comedy, games, food, and more. This year’s event will run from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, on West Franklin Street from Mallette to Roberson.

Visit the Town of Chapel Hill’s official Festifall site.

Highlights include a Lego sculpture; a showcase of the painted goats from Galloway Ridge’s Goat Parade; and three performance stages, two of which will be MC’d by WCHL’s Ron Stutts and Aaron Keck. Performers include The Fox Fire, Cognitive Resonance, a Buddy Holly/Ritchie Valens tribute band called “Your Everyday Buddy,” and Tom Maxwell, a singer/songwriter formerly of the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Check out the official event guide here, with a map and a complete performance schedule.

The weather is expected to be sunny, with temperatures in the low- to mid-60s.

WCHL’s Ron Stutts spoke with Chapel Hill special events coordinator Wes Tilghman…


…and Aaron Keck spoke with Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt about Festifall.


Also this week, Your Everyday Buddy’s Jack Vitaliz (AKA “Ritchie Valens”) and Kevin Baker (“Buddy Holly”) joined Aaron on the air – along with drummer Steve Dear – to promote their Festifall show and play a couple acoustic songs, “Donna” and “That’ll Be The Day.”


And Pat Richardson of Galloway Ridge joined Aaron on the air this week as well, along with artist Lisa Goldstein and Sarah Lamm of the Rivers Agency, to talk about the Goat Parade.




Festifall to Crowd Franklin Street Sunday

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

***Listen to the Story***

“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.