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Neighborhood invites art, music in for PorchFest

Williams Woodland Park hosting artists, bands, storytellers

Anthony Gadson

Associate Editor

Published June 1, 2022

The phrase “What if?” can lead to creative solutions, and that’s just what happened in the Williams Woodland Park Neighborhood.

With the pandemic dealing a blow to their annual Holiday Home Tour fundraiser, organizers asked, “What if this continues into 2022?” That question led to the formation of PorchFest, set for June 4 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

“We did a virtual (Holiday Home) tour in 2020, then last year, we were just too depressed to do anything,” PorchFest chair Donna Kline said. “So, we thought about how we could do something in the neighborhood, but have it outside and in the spring, that way, if COVID did flare up, it would be outside and not as scary.”

With talks heating up in January, the neighborhood association began of the process of closing off four blocks in the neighborhood and booking musical acts, storytellers, artists, and food trucks.

“We have no idea how popular this will be this year,” Kline said. “I’ve heard that a lot of people are excited. Word is getting out, so it could be a strong turnout. I just hope the weather holds off.”

‘Something new and different’

Located about a mile south of downtown, PorchFest will be along Webster Street between Taber Street and Woodland Avenue. Music, storytelling, and art will be held on 12 stages in the area, with the entrance gate at Suttenfield and Webster streets. Entry is $5 for children and $10 for adults who do not live in the neighborhood.

“Residents are excited, because it’s something new and different,” Kline said, noting there was no trouble getting a permit to close the streets or find volunteers. “When spring rolls around, people like to get outside, and this gives us an opportunity to showcase the exterior of our homes.”

Along with showcasing homes, the neighborhood will also have their creativity on display, as 12 of the performers on the day are current or former residents.

“We have a real variety of bands, and we’re proud so many of the musicians live in our neighborhood,” Kline said.

What to expect

Among those musical acts are Adam Baker, Dead Man’s Dance, Disco Curls, Four-Man Trio, Gabriel Kanka, Kevin Pifer, Middle Names, Parallel Souls Duo, Sexy and The Succulent, and Shade Jonze.

Kline says there will be two to three bands playing at any given time, but music isn’t the only thing that will be going on as Allison Ballard and Fort Wayne Taiko will perform and Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s Pineapple Dance Project will also be on hand.

For theater lovers, the leads from South Side High School’s spring production of The Music Man, Gaby Gonzalez and Matt Brindle, will share scenes and songs from the show.

Many of the porches will have residents serving as storytellers, while artists Nicole Capriglione, Hilarie Couture, Carmen Dillon, Nancy Fritz, and Jim Williams will also be on some creating works they will be able to sell when finished.

Visiting all there is to offer will definitely work up an appetite, which is where food trucks Brava’s and Same City come into play, with Whip & Chill standing by for cold treats.

Work in progress

 As with any inaugural event, organizers will be taking notes on what works and what might not work this year, with the goal of continuing PorchFest in the coming years.

“We’re going to be open to tweaking,” Kline said.

“If all goes well, we’ll continue to have PorchFest the first weekend of June and our Holiday Home Tour will continue to be the first weekend of December.”

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