BANGOR (AP) – Bangor geared up Friday for a National Folk Festival finale with more than two dozen performers and upward of 100,000 visitors expected over the weekend on the city’s riverfront.

A kickoff parade Friday evening was the prelude to performances on five stages set up on the Penobscot River.

With good weather, organizers predicted that the number of visitors could top last year’s figure of 110,000.

The 26 performing groups include Cape Breton Kitchen Party, blues performer Pinetop Perkins, gospel from The Birmingham Sunlights, and zydeco from Dexter Ardoin and the Creole Ramblers.

Other styles included Acadian music, Irish step music, fiddle playing and Arabic, Chinese and Congolese music.

This marked the last year of a three-year run in Bangor. Next year the National Folk Festival will move to Richmond, Va.

Bangor plans to keep on grooving, though. The city plans to launch its own American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.

“We’re looking forward to the third and most successful National Folk Festival and to having that transition into an American Folk Festival,” said Heather McCarthy, this year’s executive director.

Leading up to the event, fund-raising was still short $100,000, but organizers said the bulk of that amount represented pledges that had not arrived. Though the National Council for the Traditional Arts provides support for the festival, $600,000 must be raised locally to pull off the three-day event.

Long after the music has stopped, the benefits of the folk festival will continue to be felt. For starters, the long-neglected waterfront has been transformed into a focal point of the city.

New sidewalks, lights and lots of grass have made the riverfront more inviting. Condominiums will soon be built there and plans are in the works for another restaurant and other development.


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