The Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival, complete with imported oompah and sole-slapping folk dancers, will take over the Riverwalk this weekend.
The German Friendship Club has its turn as host of the 16th annual arts smorgasbord, and visitors to the festival should expect more than just Oktoberfest in September, said club president Ingrid Jansen. The group will present the range of German culture, from classical music to folk dancing.
"We are trying to show there is more to German culture than Oktoberfest and beer drinking," Mrs. Jansen said.
Of course, there will be a beer garden (biergarten), and three kinds of wurst, and so on. But there'll be more.
The Stadtkapelle Heilbronn, a 26-piece city orchestra, will make the trip from Germany and perform music ranging from light classical to oompah. The Schuhplattler Gruppe Alpenrose, a dancing group from Titusville, Fla., will perform.
Members of the Friendship Club will don dirndls and lederhosen to perform folk songs and dances. They will also lend their pewter, crystal and other collectibles and antiques for a display at the Cotton Row Exchange.
The Friendship Club has made a free booklet for people to take home. The booklet has German recipes, factoids and folk songs. They've included a list of every German from 1852 to 1910 who was naturalized as an American citizen while living in Augusta.
Two area performing groups will adopt German programs. The Augusta Choral Society will perform music by Brahms during the opening ceremony, and on Saturday the Harry Jacobs Chamber Music Society will perform works by Mozart, Stamitz, Mendelssohn and Johann Strauss.
In addition to its German touches, the festival will be a general cultural extravaganza, including opening ceremonies, continuous performances on seven stages, a fine arts and crafts sale, special events and an international food court.
About 50,000 people are expected over the weekend, said Don Dyches, events director for the Greater Augusta Arts Council. For people looking to avoid the crush, Mr. Dyches recommended parking near the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, 506 Telfair St., and taking the trolley to the Riverwalk. A trolley will make a continuous loop between the institute and the Riverwalk.
Here's some key events on the very full schedule:
Opening ceremonies at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The ceremonies feature a parade of nations, performances by All That Jazz, the Augusta Choral Society and the Stadtkapelle Heilbronn and others. The ceremonies will be capped by a brief fireworks display.
Beginning Saturday and Sunday with the main festival, continuous performances on seven stages, including a jazz stage, an ethnic stage, and two children's stages.
A dining area with 14 different types of cuisine available, including Hindu, Irish, African, Korean and Philippine. The German beer garden, in addition to three kinds of wurst, will have its own performing stage.
An increased number of children's activities, including a children and youth art exhibition and hands-on workshops.
A juried arts and crafts fair featuring 41 artists. The Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art will present a juried fine arts show.
The Harry Jacobs Chamber Society performing an all-German program at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Sacred Heart Cultural Center on Greene Street.
Winners of the Porter Fleming Literary Competition will read winning entries in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and oneact play at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Imperial Theatre, 745 Broad St.
Closing ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater, featuring a performance by the Augusta Dance Coalition.
The ethnic flavor of the Arts in the Heart festival changes each year. Next year it will have an Indian flavor.
What: Arts in the Heart of Augusta
When and where: Opening ceremonies, 6:30 tonight at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater; main festival hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Riverwalk; closing ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater.
How much: $2 festival button for admission to all events.