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Downtown Edmond Arts Festival returns

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New and expanded music offerings highlight the 39th annual Downtown Edmond Arts Festival happening 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 5-6 and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. May 7 in historic downtown Edmond.

Festival marketing manager Elena Listen is in her fourth year with the annual event.

Listen said this year’s festival unquestionably features more music than in years past — including Jason Young Band, Riders Ford, Hillbilly Vegas, Wesley Pruitt Band and more highlight this year’s event — thanks to a partnership with Southern rock and country promoter Outlaw Nation.

“We’re on a budget,” she said, “so working with Outlaw Nation, we were able to have more well-known bands come out and play.”

Several local school chorus, vocal music, percussion ensembles and rhythm and blues groups also will perform at the festival market pavilion, as local singer/songwriters, progressive rock and other eclectic acts perform at intersections along the festival route.

Visual and culinary arts

Of course, this year’s arts festival also showcases more than 120 artists, who will set up their booths featuring mixed media, sculpture, photography, painting, jewelry, pottery, designer crafts and more along the streets of downtown Edmond.

Another major art festival draw is the food. Kona Ice, Let’s Do Greek, Smokin’ Okies Mobile Smokehouse and over a dozen more food trucks will descend on three-day event to serve hungry guests.

Other attractions include children’s activities like a hands-on arts tent, face painting, ambulance tours, games and inflatables. New this year is a corporate plaza featuring yard games like corn hole, life-size checkers and jenga.

The downtown festival has become a family tradition for many, Listen said. The appeal stems from the fact that there really is something for everyone.

“There’s a lot to see and do,” she said.

Fiscal success

The event also is an annual boon to the Edmond economy. Listen said many downtown businesses try to stay open or establish special hours just for the festival.

Some of the economic benefits are realized even after the festival tents are put away. Walking the streets free of vehicle traffic, guests will sometimes spot a new or interesting store.

“A lot of people will see a shop they’ve never seen before and come back to visit on a different date,” Listen said.

The event is only possible, Listen said, through the help of its many sponsors. It is on a constant quest to better itself, and with a significant milestone anniversary on the horizon, organizers are open to new ideas to celebrate the occasion.

“We’ll have some new bands out, so I think it’s going to be a really fun and unique year,” she said. “Since next year’s our 40th, we’re looking for ways to make it even bigger and better.”

To accommodate this year’s event, Festival Market Place will close 6 p.m. May 3. There will also be a number of roads closing in the downtown area from 7 a.m. May 4 through 9 p.m. May 8.

Visit downtownedmondok.com.

Print headline: Street meet, Downtown Edmond Arts Festival welcomes a bevy of country bands and fun for everyone.

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