Rita Myrick of Sabattus gets lunch from the Shut Up N’ Eat It food truck during Lunch Time in Kennedy Park in Lewiston in August 2018. This year, the lunch event Friday will feature a performance by the Bates Dance Festival. Sun Journal file photo

LEWISTON — The city is partnering with the Bates Dance Festival for “Lunch Time in Kennedy Park” on Friday.

The event, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is the first “lunch time” event hosted by the city this year.

In 2018, Lewiston hosted three lunch events at Kennedy Park as a way to encourage more use of the downtown park. The events featured food trucks and performances by musicians or art displays.

Friday’s edition, possibly the only one this year, will feature two food trucks and a performance by the Bates Dance Festival.

Dottie Perham-Whittier, communications manager for the city, said organizers of the Bates Dance Festival contacted city officials about partnering for the event.

The dance performance, titled “Technology of the Circle,” will feature choreographer and performer Onye Ozuzu and Nigerian choreographer and performer Qudus Onikeku, with other Bates festival performers.

Marin Day, producing and community engagement fellow for the Bates Dance Festival, said the performance “uses the circle as a structure for diverse improvisation practices to define and redefine a performance space within a group.”

“Performers from various backgrounds will merge within the context of the circle and the facilitation of focal ‘guides’ to emerge as a fluid ensemble, crafting layered, powerful, individual and collective embodied narratives,” a description states.

The dance festival is composed of four programs: The Young Dancers Workshop, a rigorous, three-week program serving pre-professional dancers ages 14-18; the Professional Training Program serving dancers ages 18 and older; a main stage performance series featuring contemporary dance artists from around the world; and the Youth Arts Program, serving local youths ages 7 to 16 with dance, music, theater and visual arts training.

The city has also secured two food trucks for the event, including Charles Family Foods, which offers all-natural hot dogs, marinated chicken breasts and locally sourced hamburgers. Also in the park will be “Get Sticky Maine,” which serves seasonal ice pops sourced directly from local farms.

While last year’s lunch events provided a positive atmosphere at Kennedy Park following some high-profile violence in the area, city officials said the lunch events were planned well in advance of the summer months.

Denis D’Auteuil, deputy city administrator, said planning began in April, after a staff discussion about encouraging the use of city parks.

“We have a lot of professionals working in the downtown, and we thought this would be an opportunity to encourage people to spend time in the parks outside the normal larger events that we have throughout the city,” he said Wednesday. “This year — with Bates stepping forward with an interest in partnering — is just a wonderful opportunity.”

D’Auteuil said as of now, the city does not have plans for more lunchtime events this year.


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