The first of the 2012 Anacortes Arts Festival pre-festival activities is a concert and dance with Skagit County band Rivertalk 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center.
Festival organizer Rita James said Rivertalk has a strong following in Anacortes and throughout the valley, and she’s excited for them to return to the stage.
“For this particular event we push all the tables back and open the floor for dancing,” she said.
Anacortes resident Paul Sherman is the bass player and manager of the 12-member band. He said they started playing at the festival in the mid-1990s. The band broke up in 2003 but reunited in 2009, and a CD of their original music is due out soon.
Four percussionists and three horns form the backbone of the band, with a keyboard, guitar, Sherman’s bass and the vocals of Jan Foster rounding out the roster.
Sherman said a smaller version of the group — known as “Rivertalk light” — plays at smaller venues.
He described Rivertalk’s repertoire as a mix of reggae, Caribbean and world beat music, and he promised to put on a great show.
“Come on out and have a good time,” he said.
Tickets are $15 at the door.
Other pre-festival activities:
• Seventh annual Art Dash, 9 a.m. Saturday, July 28. The half marathon, 10k and 5k run explores the Anacortes waterfront, starting at City Hall, traveling along the Tommy Thompson trail and returning to the Port of Anacortes Transit Shed Event Center.
Registration is open through the morning of the dash at www.Active.com or through Anacortes Parks & Recreation.
• Arts at the Port Fine Art Opening, 6-8 p.m. Saturday, July 28. This is the first chance to see the fine art of the Arts Festival.
A juried selection of 83 regional fine artists will be on display, along with a focus gallery featuring photography from the late Lee Mann and Dick Garvey. Anacortes Community and Youth Arts will have a youth art exhibit.
All collections are free for viewing.
As the festival (Aug. 3-5) approaches, get ready for more live music, art demonstrations, booth artisans and the annual mural creation.
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