Blues and Jazz Festival Returns: Erie's Summer of Music Continues with the 20th Annual Party at Frontier Park

Categories:  Features    Music    Arts & Culture/Entertainment
Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 6:30 AM
Blues and Jazz Festival Returns: Erie's Summer of Music Continues with the 20th Annual Party at Frontier Park by Cory Vaillancourt
Todd Scalise

You remember her? That vivacious vital vibrating vivid vixen? The one who changes with the seasons, shedding her winter-wearied wardrobe in favor of flip-flops and fetching flirty frilly fun?

We had a thing last year. It was more than a spring fling – it lasted until end of summer. But just as the waning daylight told the leaves to let go and embrace the deciduousness, we fell out. During the ensuing big grey, I didn’t see her. I thought she’d given up the ship.

But then I saw her. Not long ago. I swear I did. She was shimmering in the summer sun.

Come to think of it, I’ve been seeing her more and more over the last few weeks. She was at the Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert on Presque Isle, a spectral, fleeting Presence set against a sandy Brigadoon. She was at the Picnic in the Park, a shadowy, ephemeral Corpus bathed in blues and reds. She was at the Erie Art Museum’s pARTy on the Patio, and the opening of the 89th Annual Spring Show, and their weekly film night. I think I even saw her at the Mid-day Art Break one wonderful Wednesday, waving wildly from the Wave Café.

Yes, it’s all coming back now. Now I remember why I fell in love with her; she really knows how to milk every last drop of sticky-sweet summertime fun from the all-too-short season. She goes from grey to great once the buds begin to bloom. You remember her now?

Yeah, her.

Her name is Erie. And she is beautiful.

She is beautiful, and if you haven’t yet seen her summer-self in full flower, you’re about to get your chance. Although Erie apparently loves Kansas, and the Buckinghams, and Vanilla Ice, Erie knows music, and Erie’s got soul, which is why she loves Blues and Jazz. She loves being outside, on the grass, listening to these distinctly American art forms at the summer’s best fest – so you know she’ll be at the 20th Annual Erie Art Museum Blues and Jazz Festival in Frontier Park August 4 and 5.

Yes, Erie will be there. Erie will be there, and after attending 19 of them already, she knows exactly how to do this festival right. She may bring a cooler full of food and drinks, because that’s what one does at this sort of thing; she may bring her propane grill; she may also bring alcohol, because they don’t sell it there; she may even bring a tent and establish a base camp in the properly demarcated tent zone after 9 a.m., but she won’t sleep overnight in the park, because that’s not allowed. Also not allowed are pets, so she won’t bring hers; however, in keeping with the environmental consciousness of the festival, she may ride her bicycle to the festival and leave it in the secure bicycle corral, although she’s going to look awfully silly riding a bicycle with a tent, a propane grill, and cooler full of booze and grillin’ meat on her back. I don’t even know how she’s going to fit a hula-hoop in there, but I bet she does it anyway.

Whatever means Erie utilizes to arrive, she will see that once again this year, the Blues and Jazz Festival will minimize the environmental footprint of the festival by making it as eco-friendly as it can be. “We partner with [the vendors] and we partner with LEAF [the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park] to make this a green, environmentally friendly event,” said Carolyn Eller, director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Erie Art Museum. “We’ll have recycling bins throughout the entire park that will be marked, and we ask that people, if they’re bringing their beer bottles and soda cans, that they recycle them. There’s a trash can paired with a recycle bin; it’s not any harder to be sure it gets in the recycling bin.”

Likewise, food vendors will be using recyclable or compostable utensils. “We don’t allow little individual-size condiment packages, and we don’t allow them to use foil, so if you order a gyro, you’ll notice it’s wrapped in wax paper, which is intentional.”

So Erie will bring her own environmental consciousness to the festival, and she’ll be sure to pick up any trash she sees and put it in its proper place. The most important thing Erie will bring to the festival, however, is cash.

“We suggest a $5 donation from everyone who comes to the festival, and you’ll get a button in exchange,” Eller said. Erie knows that donations from the button sales help keep this wonderful event going year after year, so she likes to give them $10 instead.

Yes, Erie will bring cash for the donations, for food, and for drink. She’ll even bring some of that cash over to the Erie Reader tent to buy some fabulous erieBrand merchandise. You should too, because, after all, you know that vivacious vital vibrating vivid vixen – beautiful Erie – will be there, and you’ll want to look your best.

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