Tuesday, June 04, 2013

TOP STORY >> City’s new event June 21-22

Leader staff writer

The big-name entertainment is still not locked in, but there are big plans for Jacksonville’s first FestiVille.

The city has been without a festival for almost two years since the chamber dropped the Wing Ding because of its expense and excessive man-hours. Before that the city had Mums, Music and Muscadine, and before that CityFest.

The city’s parks and recreation department is now running the festival and hitting a few bumps on their first effort, like with the main entertainment, which should be worked out by the end of the week.

With help from 18 sponsors, the rest of the festival, set for June 21-22 at Dupree Park, is locked in.

Local entertainment will include a martial-arts group performance, Sharon’s School of Dance, the finals of the Buffalo Wild Wings karaoke contest, a variety of music by Dog Town Media and the band Eddie and the Defianz.

Besides music, dance and martial arts, the festival will also feature a 5K run open to everyone and 1K walk/run open to children. There’ll be a fishing derby at Lake Dupree open to all ages, a coed volleyball tournament, a beauty contest for canines as well as the human version, the Mr. and Mrs. FestiVille pageant, which is for babies up to 18-year-olds.

Dana Rozenski, the coordinator of the event, said there will also be a children’s area, plenty of food, arts and crafts and commercial vendors.

A carnival will set up at Dupree Park, starting June 19 and stay through Saturday night. Tickets are $1 each, a family pack of 24 is available for $20 and armbands can be purchased for $15, Rozenski said.

Even though the carnival rides cost money, the festival is free and so is the parking.

Besides finalizing the “big act” for the festival, Rozenski and her staff are keeping an eye on the weather, which lately has developed into a weekend rain pattern, and Dupree Park is known for its flooding issues. “The good news is with all the rain we received last weekend, we were able to drive out to the lake without a problem,” she said.

The organizers are expecting a crowd of about 10,000 to enjoy all the activities.

“We are trying to provide a mix of entertainment, activities and booths for the whole family,” Rozenski said.

Festival activities will run all day June 21 and June 22. “We’ll close with the finals of the Buffalo Wild Wings karaoke finals,” Rozenski said.

All that is needed is for the department to lock in its headline entertainment and hope the rain stays away.

For more details or information about the festival, call Rozenski at 501-982-0818 or go to the event’s website, www.festiville.org.