Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival begins today

Arts, crafts and global cuisine take the spotlight in downtown Augusta as the 32nd annual Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival opens today.

For the second year, the festival will take place on Broad Street and at Augusta Common. About 70,000 people are expected to attend the three-day festival, said Sallie West, a spokeswoman for the Greater Augusta Arts Council.

This year, Germany is the host country. The German Friendship Club of Augusta will serve 2,000 schnitzels, 600 pounds of German potato salad, 400 pretzels, 500 pounds of brats and two types of German beer until supplies run out, club President Pat Estep said.

The German menu was expanded from previous years to include jagerschnitzel, red cabbage and currywurst.

“It’s a good way to make money for your organization, but that’s really a secondary thing,” Estep said. “Part of our obligation is to promote the German culture in the CSRA. What better way to do it than food, song and beer?”

More than 100 arts and crafts vendors and 20 local nonprofit arts organizations will showcase offerings at booths. In the Global Village at Augusta Common, 15 countries will sell traditional food and drinks.

Turkey, Spain and Laos are participating for the first time, West said. Musical and dance performances will take place on four stages.

The German club organized a dance that will follow today’s opening ceremony and parade of nations. Two representatives from each country will participate in a traditional German dance, Estep said.

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IF YOU GO

WHAT: The Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival begins today and ends Sunday on Broad Street and at Augusta Common.

COST: Weekend badges cost $5 in advance at SRP Federal Credit Union or $7 at the gate.

HOURS: 5-9 p.m. today; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday

PARKING: Available at:

• TEE Center parking garage, 921 James Brown Blvd.

• Pensioner’s Depot, 511 Reynolds St.

• Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St.

• Municipal building, 530 Greene St.

• James Brown Arena, 601 Seventh St.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit artsintheheart.com for a full schedule.

STREET CLOSINGS

The following street blocks are closed until festival tents are cleared Sunday night:

• Broad Street east- and westbound from Seventh to 10th streets

• 200 block of Eighth Street from Broad to Ellis streets

• 100 block of Ninth Street from Broad to Jones street

• Macartan Street

 

TODAY’S HIGHLIGHTS

Global Stage at Augusta Common

• 5-6 p.m. Channelheimer Ooompa Band

• 6-7 p.m. Parade of Nations

• 7-8 p.m. Parade and Unity Dance

• 8-8:30 p.m. Odyssey, Greek dance

• 8:30-9 p.m. Pyroteque fire performing group

ONLINE: www.artsintheheart.com; get festival updates, menus and more on your mobile device at artsintheheart.mobi

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