EIU Readying for Annual Celebration Festival of the Arts


Published on April 12 2019 3:33 pm
Last Updated on April 12 2019 3:37 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

A sure sign of the return of Spring is when Eastern Illinois University’s Celebration: A Festival of the Arts returns to the Charleston campus. This year’s festival is scheduled for April 26, 27 and 28. The outdoor festival takes place on South 7th Street between the Doudna Fine Arts Center and the Tarble Arts Center and features live music, festival style foods and an Art Fair on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to the fair is free and parking is located close to the festivities.

“Everyone can probably agree that this past winter was pretty long,” said Dan Crews, festival director. “I think everyone is ready to get outdoors and Celebration is a good way to welcome Spring and celebration another successful academic year on campus.”

There will be many live performances scheduled on the outdoor stage and the Doudna’s indoor stages, including Charleston High School’s production of "The Music Man". The Music Man takes place at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening with a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday. For a list of activities, please visit the festival website at www.eiu.edu/festival and Celebration’s Facebook page.

Eastern’s International students will present a showcase of talent on Saturday afternoon. The annual Holi festival will also take place on Saturday. The Littlest Dancer program featuring pre-ballet and creative movement students from the Dancelife Center will take place in the Doudna’s Recital Hall.

A Charleston tradition since 1977, the three-day festival features a variety of arts experiences for visitors of all ages. The festival gets underway at 11:30 a.m. on Friday when the EIU Jazz Lab Band takes the stage and the food booths open. The festival will feature various musical performances, dance programs, art activities for children, exhibitions, and festival foods.

An Art Fair takes place on Saturday and Sunday and features a large gathering of artisans selling their original works of art. From ceramics and functional pottery to jewelers, photographers, painters, and stained glass work, visitors to the Art fair will find a wide array of unique artwork at Celebration is hand crafted by the artists attending the festival.

One of the most frequently asked questions asked of Crews is, "What's the weather going to be like this year?"  Crews is used to the good-natured ribbing and always answers with the festival’s unofficial motto, "Be there or be dry!" "Anytime you plan an outdoor event you run the risk of weather being an issue, especially in Illinois and especially in the month of April," said Crews. Organizers tend not to worry about it because even if the weather isn't the best, people still come out and make it a point to enjoy themselves. With the recent April showers and snows across the area, Crews believes people are ready for an excuse to get outdoors, and Celebration gives them that opportunity. According to Crews, Eastern’s Celebration is one of Illinois’ first outdoor festivals of the year.

Festival hours are Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is no admission charge to the festival and the grounds are handicapped accessible.

Celebration is hosted by Eastern’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and sponsored by the Doudna Fine Arts Center, Consolidated Communications, the City of Charleston, and the EIU International Center for Global Diversity. Information is continually being updated on the festival website at www.eiu.edu/celebration. You can find the festival on www.facebook.com/EIUCelebration.