That crowd marching down Farnam Street isn't a parade. It's an audience following the MarchFourth Marching Band as the group sprinkles a little taste of New Orleans on the streets of downtown Omaha.
The band will take over Farnam Street during the Omaha Summer Arts Festival.
MarchFourth is one of 15 musical groups that will perform during the 39th annual festival June 7 through 9. As always, the festival near the Gene Leahy Mall will include artists, artwork and workshops, but elements such as MarchFourth are new to the family event.
A live touring act that began at a Fat Tuesday party in 2003, MarchFourth will perform at 6:15 p.m. on June 8, moving from 10th Street to 14th Street and ending its show with a stationary performance in front of the W. Dale Clark Main Library. It includes a percussion corps, brass section and a team of dancers in addition to a traditional bass/guitar/vocals rock band that will create a celebratory performance.
Hundreds of artists from all over the country also will set up shop, and food and children's activities will be available, too.
“There's something for everyone, and festival fans will find the familiar components again this year,” Summer Arts Festival board President Brenda Hermanek said in a press release.
At the music pavilion, 14 groups will play for festivalgoers. The lineup includes the Omaha Musicians Association Jazz All-Stars, Paa Kow's By All Means Band, Mike Gurciullo & His Las Vegas Lab Band and Louis Prima Jr. & the Witnesses.
Prima Jr. is the son of the jazz legend known as the King of Swing, and continues his legacy with a party band featuring vocalist Sarah Spiegel.
Artwork available at booths that will line both sides of Farnam Street includes jewelry, sculptures, paintings, photos and more. Among the 135 participating artists from 26 states are eight from Nebraska. All the works are for sale.
At the Summer Arts Festival, learning is an option, too. Live demonstrations at the Passageway Gallery, Old Market Artists Gallery and The Blacksmith Shop will show festivalgoers techniques in painting, glass art and pottery, among others.
Children's activities, a young artist exhibition and a drum circle workshop also are part of the festivities.
“Every year is a little different, and even the most loyal festivalgoers are sure to discover something new this year,” Hermanek said.
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