Three dozen exhibitors, live music planned
By Barb Pert Templeton
When Art on the River returns to Port Huron this weekend it will be a chance for community members and visitors to the area to enjoy shopping, dining and lots of live entertainment at Kiefer Park, along the St. Clair River.
The annual event dubbed the “Blue Water areas premier art and music festival” will be hosted Friday thru Sunday, June 10-12 by the organization Citizens for a Vibrant Community. The hours on Friday are 3 to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Trina Avedisian, president of Citizens for a Vibrant Community, said the event is marking its 11th year at the local park, there will be 47 exhibitors for 2022 and 60 percent of them are returning artists. She said many are local but there are also some from across the state and beyond including one artist who will travel from Louisiana to set up at the event.
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“None of this is resale, these are all hand-made items too,” Avedisian said.
All forms of art will likely be represented including painting, jewelry, metal works, bath bombs and just about everything in between. Advertising for the event encourages shoppers to get their holiday gift-giving lists in order and bring them along.
This year’s featured artist is Mike Henry, a native of Port Huron who’s a water media landscape painter primarily with watercolors. Henry’s appearance is made possible through a grant from the Blue Water Arts Committee thru the Community Foundation of St. Clair.
“It is my leisure as well as my work, a game,” Henry said on the Art on the River website. “It is a fierce game I have joined because it is being played anyway, a game of both skill and chance, played against an unseen adversary – the conditions of time – in which the payoff, which many suddenly arrive in a blast of light at any moment, might as well come to me as anyone else.”
Beyond art, the event will also have numerous musical guests performing Blues Rock over all three days. The headliner on Friday night is Derek St. Holmes. Avedisian said he was a “guitar player for Ted Nugent for years” and penned the popular Nugent favorite, “Cat Scratch Fever.”
On Saturday the musical headliner will be Gary Hoey who has a collection of 21 albums and is listed among the top 100 guitarists of all time.
“Boy. can he play guitar, he is just incredible,” Avedisian said.
Sunday will bring a more local flavor to the stage with appearances by the Restoration Christian Community Church Dance team and the Northern High School group, The Eatles. Avedisian said this group of musicians, took famous Beatles tunes and changed the lyrics to make the songs all about food. She said the show is always great fun and the band even donned chef hats for their appearance.
Food will also be a highlight of the weekend with soul food provided by “Fire Up Grill,” another booth called Jamaican Jerk and also one with strictly Mediterranean cuisine. There will also be a beer tent on site, hosted by Wolverine Market.
Avedisian said the nonprofit group Citizens for a Vital Community was founded in the city in 2008 and while they took a minute to figure out exactly what they wanted to do, they soon settled on this spring event.
“We landed on this art and music festival because it brings people together,” Avedisian said.
The group supports veterans’ groups, Kids in Distress and people in the community who unexpectedly need help, like the family they recently assisted after a fire.
The art and music event is made possible by generous sponsors from the community and money made at the festival goes right back into planning the next one.
Kiefer Park – Port Huron is located at 500 Merchant Street. For more information on the event or Citizens for a Vital Community visit artintheparkph.org.