Enjoy LG this weekend

August 20, 2008 03:27 pm

Wondering how to close out a summer season of record high gas prices? How about a last “staycation”?  Why not stay home, enjoy the beauty of the Grande Ronde Valley and all of the delights of the brand new Crossing the Blues Festival in downtown La Grande.

 The first Crossing the Blues Festival, set for Friday and Saturday, promises to keep everyone entertained, fed and watered. The festival kicks off Friday evening with a repeat of the Third Thursday Art Walk beginning at 5:30 p.m. featuring many local galleries and artists including The Potter’s House, Back to Nature Gallery and the Mitre’s Touch. Satellite Gallery will premiere the Visual Arts Invitational featuring 24 regional artists.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., a concert featuring the Wasteland Kings will rock the CTB festival stage at Fourth and Adams.

To close out the entertainment, Cold Coffee Media will host its first competitive film project. Some 20 young filmmakers and actors will converge on La Grande and produce 15-minute films which will be shown at Max Square following the concert. To make sure that people have enough sustenance throughout the night, Bud Jackson’s Sports Bar will provide a beer garden and there will be plenty of food from a variety of local restaurants.

Saturday promises even more art, music, theater, food and drink.

The La Grande Farmers Market will provide its usual array of luscious products and as an added bonus, the Union County Arts and Culture Center will host an Artist Quick Draw contest featuring 12 regional artists. Their works will be auctioned off later in the day as a fundraiser for the restoration of the Carnegie Library. In addition to watching the creation of art, people can enjoy the folk sounds of Summit Ridge.

For the more contemplative souls, there will be an Authors’ Fair, Writing Marathon, Open Mic and an Oral History Project all set in the Cook Memorial Library.

Beginning at noon, the CTB festival stage will feature a series of talented bands: Finn Riggins, Greg Rawlins, Test Audiences and Charmparticles. Then at 6 p.m, get ready to enjoy a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’’ set right in front of City Hall.

To round out the evening’s entertainment, Tom Bergeron & Whirled News will take to the CTB festival stage. Our own talented Matt Cooper and Carolyn Lockhert will be featured guests.

And don’t forget the kids! There will be a children’s carnival all day Saturday, featuring miniature donkeys from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., horse rides from 2 to 4 p.m., Lucky Ducky pond, basketball hoops, Think Link, mini tennis, bean bag toss, the Mobile Fun Unit, face painting, balloon art, three mini-claw machines, the shower tower from the fire department and prizes. The cost is $2 for a 10-punch pass (not every attraction requires a “punch”).

Art vendors, cars and the Homegrown Prosperity Renewable Energy Bus will be on display as well. Bud Jackson will return with his beer garden, and plenty of food vendors will keep you going throughout the day.

So, don’t jump into the car to take one last trip before summer comes to a close. Instead, invite family and friends to cross the Blues and hang out in downtown La Grande to enjoy the festivities, art, music, theatre, food and loads of fun.

And then, as the final punctuation for summer, get ready to attend La Grande’s own block party, Celebrate La Grande, Sept. 4 at Max Square.

Colleen Johnson is mayor of La Grande.