By Amanda Crowe
CLIFTON — The third annual Clifton Gorge Music and Arts Festival will feature a variety of live performances by local artists returning to the village this weekend.
The event will be held from 4-11 p.m. Aug. 29 and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday in downtown Clifton, State Route 343. Free festival parking is conveniently located at the Clifton Mill and the Clifton Presbyterian Church.
Mayor Alex Bieri attributes the festival’s success the last two years to, of course, the music.
“The great music is the centerpiece of the festival,” he said. “It’s an extension, or culmination, of all the talent the Clifton Operahouse brings into town throughout the year. It’s a way to celebrate it all in one place.”
The festival features many local acts beginning with Enon singer-songwriter Izzi Hicks performing modern country tunes on her guitar at 4 p.m. Friday. Cedarville’s Alex Delange will take the stage at 5 p.m. with classic rock and folk music. Out of Order features Alan Long from Clifton and three band mates who will entertain with classic rock favorites at 6:30 p.m.
Yellow Springs favorites, Soul Fire Tribe, will give a fire dancing performance at 8:30 p.m., followed by Clifton’s own Rob Heiliger & Friends returning for the third time.
“Rob is a festival favorite,” said Bieri. “He has written songs about the gorge, and always puts on a fun show.”
Eddie Gray will get the entertainment started at 11 a.m. Saturday with his acoustic guitar, followed by bluegrass youngsters, Amethyst at 1 p.m., a ballet variety show presented by the Ohio Performing Arts Institute (OPAI) at 2 p.m., and the Ragtime Riverboat Rats at 4 p.m.
The headlining band, Blue Moon Soup, will take the stage at 5 p.m. This acoustic folk quartet from Yellow Springs will entertain with original music and Americana, Celtic, folk and bluegrass. The band features fiddle, guitar, mandolin and bass.
New Mountain Heritage Bluegrass will perform at 7 p.m. followed by Well Behaved Band at 8 p.m. and The Hoppers, a six-piece rock and roll band from Yellow Springs, closing the show at 9 p.m. with favorites from the ’50s and ’60s.
“We have a small-town country festival feel with some really strong talent and eclectic arts and crafts vendors,” Bieri said. “And our variety of food goes beyond typical festival and fair foods. We have everything from Riddle’s Ribs to a brick oven pizza vendor and an Argentine grill.”
Nearly 40 vendors are scheduled to appear this weekend. Another popular feature is the the Beer Garden which opens at 5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday. It features craft brews and taster’s favorites as well as a wide selection of classic brand names. The tent is open as long as the music is playing. Patrons must show an ID.
There will also be a Kid’s Activity Area with face painting, crafts and coloring, lawn bowling, hula hoops, a putting green, jump ropes, bean bags and contests.
The Greene County Combined Health District will host their Adopt a Healthy Duck race at 2 p.m. Saturday, down the mill race at the Historic Clifton Mill. Stop by their booth to adopt a “healthy duck.” Sponsors of the winning ducks will receive great prizes. Donations go to support the activities of the health district.
For more information about the Clifton Gorge Music and Arts Festival, go online to www.villageofclifton.com.
Amanda Crowe is editor of the Fairborn Daily Herald covering Fairborn, Yellow Springs, Enon and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Contact her by phone at 937-502-4532 or on Twitter @FairbornHerald.