The Gettysburg Festival is in full swing through this weekend, concluding on Father's Day, June 16. As an annual occurrence spanning the last six years, the Gettysburg Festival has grown into a popular community tradition attracting area residents as well as visitors from over 30 states (and DC). An average number of 23,000 attendees come out for this celebration of local talent each year.
The mission behind the Gettysburg Festival is to provide accessibility of the arts to all, with family appropriate and affordable entertainment and activities to fit every taste and budget. Over half of the featured events are free and open to the public.
A 16-time winner of the International Pinnacle Award, the Gettysburg Festival has presented over 3,000 artists, musicians and performers over the last couple years. Notable names and affiliations through the years include: James Earl Jones, narrating A Lincoln Portrait and accompanied by full orchestra; Kevin Eubanks, of The Tonight Show; Former White House chef, Walter Scheib; world-renowned guitarist/singer John Pizzarelli; the critically-acclaimed Boston Brass, River City Brass, and Gramercy Brass orchestras; Capella sensation Straight No Chaser and several others. The Gettysburg Festival even once served as the site for the taping of the popular NPR show From the Top, with Christopher O'Riley.
Events for the Gettysburg Festival range in varying areas from the visual arts, film, theater, music, culinary interests, fringe events and more. This year's festival will also include special focuses in honor of and in part of the ongoing 150th Anniversary Celebrations that have been taking place this season.
Interests, activities and highlights at this year's Gettysburg Festival vary far and wide. This past weekend started the scene with plenty to take part in, including a huge culinary arts celebration at the Gettysburg College Memorial Battlefield: Blues, Beer & BBQ with Octavia featuring the U.S. Army Field Band Volunteers. There were also numerous, ongoing visual arts exhibits. Other highlights and activities for this year's Gettysburg Festival include, but are not limited to: a pie auction and showing of Singing in the Rain at the Majestic Theater on June 12, History Meets the Arts: Edible Arts Tour, on June 13 in downtown Gettysburg; live music including Hunter Hayes, on June 14, performing at Gettysburg College's Memorial Field and the Letterman, at the Majestic on June 15, and History Through Storytelling with respected military fiction author Jeff Shaara.
Throughout the community, there are also numerous ongoing fringe events including Battlefield Tours, Art in the Street and various performances and dramas in affiliation to schools and organizations including the Civil War drama Children of Gettysburg and the musical For the Glory.
Special for this year's festival, and in celebration of the 150th celebration is the premier of the new film The Gettysburg Story. Written, produced, and directed by Gettysburg native Jake Boritt and narrated by actor Stephen Lang, the Gettysburg Story will premier at the Majestic on June 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The Gettysburg Festival is going on now through Sunday 16. For more information, visit www.gettysburgfestival.org.