For more than 30 years, the Columbia Festival of the Arts has served as both a community tradition and a regional attraction, featuring two weeks of shows mixing local performers with national and international talent.
It’s also a great way for families to enjoy the arts together, particularly with one weekend dedicated to days full of free performances outside overlooking the city’s picturesque Lake Kittamaqundi.
This year’s Festival of the Arts, which takes place June 14–30 at venues throughout Columbia, has once again collected an amazing range of performances and screenings, with shows that often can’t otherwise be found in this area, never mind in one place at the same time.
The festival kicks off at LakeFest, a free weekend of performances at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront beginning on Friday, June 14 and continuing through Sunday, June 16. LakeFest is three days of live music, an invitational arts and crafts show, strolling performers, festival food, a Clyde’s of Columbia Beer Garden and an array of activities and entertainment for all ages. The weekend kicks off with music performed by the kid students at School of Rock Columbia and will continue on with family-friendly concerts by musicians from a variety of genres, plus nearly 60 arts and crafts vendors, festival food, a beer garden for the adults, and arts and music workshops with hands-on teaching opportunities for children.
LakeFest isn’t to be confused with Columbia Association’s Lakefront Summer Festival, which also takes place at Lake Kittamaqundi and is scheduled this year to bring free concerts and movies, plus weekly dance session nearly every night beginning June 17—the Monday after LakeFest—and continuing into September. A full schedule can be found at ColumbiaAssociation.org/lakefrontfestival
The full schedule of events is at columbiafestival.org.
Columbia Festival of the Arts also features paid performances that take place at venues near Downtown Columbia over the festival’s two-week run.
This year’s featured shows include:
· L’Homme Cirque—a one-main circus in Symphony Woods
· Sprout Films, a collection of short movies by, for and about individuals with development disabilities.
· The Other Mozart, an award-winning play about the famed composer’s older sister, Nannerl, a musician who performed around Europe.
· Stoop Storytelling, a local series in which seven people get seven minutes to tell true stories from their lives. This show’s theme is “School Daze,” featuring educational experiences as told by school faculty, students and parents.
· Rene Marie
· Second City
· Sundance Shorts on tour
· The Columbia Film Festival
· The Finale—Summer Pops Concert by the Columbia Orchestra
Adapted by an article on the 2018 Columbia Festival of the Arts by David Greisman.
L’Homme Cirque photo by Martin Pelikan