Dinner and show will kickoff arts festival

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NORWAY — Plans are underway for the 2010 Norway Arts Festival and Sidewalk Art Show, to be held from Thursday to Saturday, July 8 through 10. A fundraising kickoff event called “Let the Dough Fly!” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 9, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, Main Street.

The event will feature a homemade meal of pasta, sauce (with or without meat), salad, focaccia and desserts. Tickets are $10. Accompanied children under 10 are free. Tickets are available at Books N Things, Norway Memorial Library or at the door.

Committee Coordinator Lisa Moore said the event is the public beginning of the 2010 festival, but the committee has been hard at work since January.

This year, the committee has chosen the Honorable J.A. Roberts as its focus and green as the color of its promotional materials.

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“The focus figure wasn’t an easy decision this year,” said Moore. “There were many good suggestions on the table. We wanted to focus on a Norway citizen who worked hard for the community. Roberts was a 19th century renaissance man: a college graduate, a farmer, a local Grange president and a state Commissioner of Agriculture. He’s a great role model for community activism and engagement. And he was a successful businessman, too.”

One festival project will be to offer a biography of Roberts and a Thursday evening lecture about his contributions.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Western Maine Art Group and Norway Downtown, two nonprofit organizations. The mission of the festival is to support the two organizations; bring people, their energy and their resources to downtown Norway; promote the arts; illuminate Norway’s history; and continue the long tradition of the Sidewalk Art Show.

At the kickoff dinner, patrons will listen to the music of the Skylark Jazz Ensemble. An eclectic mix of Ellington swing, bossa nova cool and soft rock, the group includes Janet Gills on vocals, Carol Rhoads on keyboard, Bob Wallace on bass and Carl Harbourt on percussion.

The Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association will also offer “Enchanted April,” a show with heart, humor and adult themes, on the night of the dinner. Both organizations encourage a “dinner theater” night which includes the meal at 6 p.m. and the show at 8. The show will be held at the Grange, an easy walk from the church.

A committee meets regularly at the Norway Memorial Library to plan and coordinate festival events. Volunteers are also needed on the day of the festival. Those interested in participating may contact Lisa Moore at 743-9808.

The Festival Committee has also redesigned its Web site with the help of Mariel Geiger and it will be updated as plans progress. Printable versions of vendor and artist applications are available at the site, along with festival history, photos and an evolving schedule of events. Visit the site at www.norwaryartsfestival.org.

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