Arts: One World, Our World
A Four-Day Celebration of the Arts
Wilkes-Barre’s Public Square comes alive every third weekend in May.
Make your way downtown for Pennsylvania’s oldest, full-scale arts festival. The 64th Annual Fine Arts Fiesta kicks off this week in Wilkes-Barre. And if you’ve never experienced this incredible weekend of song, dance, art, culture and community, now’s your chance. It may help to know that there will also be tons of amazing food, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
The Fine Arts Fiesta got its start in 1956. Then, festival founders, Annette Evans and Al Groh, were inspired to bring the community together in celebration of its immense artistic talent, passion and diversity. Now, over six decades later, the festival continues to bring Northeastern Pennsylvania together. Make plans this weekend to join the family fun at one of the region’s most cherished spring traditions.
Song and dance on the Square.
For a full four days, the Fine Arts Fiesta takes over Wilkes-Barre’s iconic Public Square. The famous center stage bandshell serves as the festival’s activity hub. All weekend long, visitors gather for free concerts, dance performances, poetry and so much more.
Local musicians take the stage every evening for main event performances. Enjoy everything from pop and rock to jazz and blues. Local high school jazz bands, choruses, and orchestras fill out the rest of the music schedule. Sprinkled in between musical acts, you’ll find theater and dance troupes.
You can also watch the little ones steal the show over at the Children’s Performance Stage. The weekend is full of kid-friendly activities like face painting, strolling performers and craft lessons. And be sure to stop by the Family Activity Center. This Fiesta favorite offers enriching activities like a Make Your Own Music Corner, Recreating Masterpieces and the Al Groh Poetry Corner to name just a few.
NEPA’s creative juices are flowing.
The main tents at the Fine Arts Fiesta are dedicated to showcasing the region’s rich artistic talent. Juried exhibits for both adults and students make up the bulk of the incredible art on display. Artists are awarded for work in painting, sculpture/construction, watercolor, graphics, crafts and photography.
In addition to the Juried Art Shows, the Wyoming Valley Art League Tent features a pop-up gallery. Professional pieces from local and out-of-town artists will be displayed throughout the exhibit.
As you stroll out of the main tents, make sure to take your time perusing the popular Artist’s Market. Over 50 artists, designers and crafters set up throughout the Square. Pick up some beautiful woodcraft or stained-glass décor for your home. Add that unique touch to your living space with a crafted metal or mosaic piece. Or upgrade the wardrobe with handmade scarves, jewelry or leather handbags. You might not know what you’re looking for, but you’ll know it when you see it at the Fine Arts Fiesta Artists’ Market.
Food is art…Right?
Every NEPA festival has its fair share of delicious, ethnic food. The Fine Arts Fiesta is no exception to that rule. With about an entire quarter of Public Square dedicated as the Food Court, dining options at the Fiesta are many and delicious.
Get in line for those amazing, perfectly crunchy potato pancakes. For some, it’s the first taste of potato pancakes since last bazaar season. From there, hunt down some sausage and peppers, BBQ or even Chicken on a Stick. And don’t dare skip dessert. Look for funnel cakes, kettle corn, crepes and, of course, ice cream. Hint: This only scratches the surface. There’s so much more.
With so many delicious food choices, non-stop entertainment, great local art and hundreds of happy, smiling faces, the Fine Arts Fiesta is one warm-weather celebration you don’t want to miss.
Get outside this weekend and check Out the 63rd Annual Fine Arts Fiesta
Thursday, May 16 – Opens at 10 a.m. / Final Performance at 7:15 p.m.
Friday, May 17 – Opens at 10 a.m. / Final Performance at 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 – Opens at 11 a.m. / Final Performance at 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 – Opens at 11 a.m. / Final Performance at 4 p.m.
Public Square, Downtown Wilkes-Barre
Because art is a constant source of light, color, inspiration, diversity and life in our community. And as unknowing trustees of this beautiful institution, we are charged to protect it through continual and jubilant celebration.