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Dancing in the street

Chalk, magic and a dance in the street will kick off the seventh annual Arts on the Square.

The arts festival will be held Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17, in downtown Waupaca.

“Creating something together – that’s what this is all about,” said Marci Reynolds. “The arts is about community building.”

Reynolds is the president of the Waupaca Community Arts Board, the non-profit organization which brings the afts festival to the city square each year.

Friday evening’s activities and Saturday’s schedule are family friendly.

Arts on the Square will begin Friday night with a James David Magic Preview Show, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. under the Main Stage tent on Fulton Street.

David has been perfecting his blend of magic and humor for years.

He has performed from New York to Los Angeles, as well as throughout the Midwest.

His most recent production is called “Mind Games,” and David will perform again, from noon to 1 p.m. on Aug. 17, on the Dance, Theater and Drum Stage.

After his Friday night show, Copper Box will take the stage.

The band, which is based in Oshkosh, will play for the free street dance, from 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Aug. 16.

Copper Box includes Danny Jerabek on vocals, button accordion, cornet and sousaphone; Michelle Jerabek on vocals, saxophones, guitar and flute; Kevin Junemann on bass and ukelele; and Jason Van Ryzin on drums.

Michelle Jerabek describes their style as “Americana, roots rock” influenced by blues, Zydeco, polka, Tejano and jazz.

The band has been playing together for 11 years, with their new CD, “After the Rain,” available at live shows only.

A Sept. 1 release to mail orders and online orders is to follow, she said.

Go to www.copperboxband.com to learn more about the band.

Area residents are familiar with the band’s music.

“Copper Box played Wega Arts’ Mardi Gras,” Reynolds said. “Everybody was dancing, and the band was on the dance floor with everybody. It was the most joyous thing.”

That was last February.

When the arts board talked about how to get more people downtown to experience a band in the street, board members thought of Copper Box she said.

“They are twice as much money as what we paid in the past. Dr. Jan Bax is the sponsor,” Reynolds said.

Community First Credit Union is the title sponsor of Arts on the Square, with major support for the festival from Waupaca Foundry, the city of Waupaca and the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Before Friday’s show

The days leading up to Arts on the Square will include chalking outside of area businesses and the opportunity to bid on chairs and benches.

Chair-i-ty is a project of the Waupaca, King & In Between retailers group.

The project involves bidding on chairs and benches, with the money raised going to charities.

Chairs and benches built by Big Falls Design were painted by retailers and are being bid on now through the final day of Arts on the Square.

Anita Olson, owner of Embellishments and a member of the community arts board, said at least 15 businesses are participating in Chair-i-ty. Some have painted old chairs.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, all the benches and chairs will be at Arts on the Square, set up in in the parking lot behind City Hall and the Waupaca Area Public Library.

“The retailers will staff that area,” Olson said. “The person who wins (with the highest bid) – they or the store decides which charity they want it to go to.”

The annual Chalk ‘O Town, another project of the group, is also set to begin.

Beginning on Sunday, Aug. 11, area retailers will be chalking on the sidewalks outside their stores. Olson said this year, it has spread to include Iola.

“On Thursday, Aug. 15, a juried committee from the arts board will go out and hand out first, second and third prize ribbons,” Olson said.

In the running for the prizes will be area youth, who will be chalking the walkway to Riverview Park on Sunday, Aug. 11.

The arts board is furnishing the chalk for the youth, and Olson said members of the Waupaca Police Department are assisting in this part of the project.

“Twelve kids already signed up,” Olson said. “Each will have a fairly large square. We encourage people to come and see them.”

Throughout the week, area resident Sara VanderVelden will also be chalking in downtown Waupaca.

The community arts board commissioned the artist to create a large chalk art piece in front of the Phantom Art Gallery, on the corner of Fulton and Main streets.

Supporting the arts

Members of the Waupaca Area Public Library’s Student Library Advisory Group made buttons which say, “I support Arts on the Square.”

The $5 buttons may be purchased at Office Outfitters and entitle the wearer of the button to one free beverage at the Aug. 16 street dance.

Beer and soda will be available at the dance, as well as food from Jamaican Kitchens, What’s Poppin’ and D-Fuego.

Some downtown restaurants are also playing with the street dance theme.

Simpson’s Restaurant, T-Dub’s Public House and Little Fat Gretchen’s will all have some special Cajun items on their menus on the night of the street dance for those who want to go out for dinner before they head to the dance.

Copper Box plays some Cajun music.

“The idea was part of our ongoing creative brainstorming that takes place at our meetings,” Reynolds said.

The support does not stop there.

Mayor Brian Smith has once again proclaimed August as “Arts Appreciation Month” in Waupaca.

See the full Arts on the Square schedule in the Aug. 15 issue of the County Post.

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