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Zootown Fringe Festival set to open August 12

Second Annual Zootown Fringe Festival kicks off on August 12

The Zootown Fringe Festival is set to begin its second annual offering of non-traditional theater,music and dance on August 12, 2014. Founded in 2013 as the Missoula Fringe Festival by Michelle Risho, the Festival includes art installations, dramatic one-person and ensemble productions, dance and music, including the popular Porchfest on August 14, which is a series of outdoor concerts at houses along Fourth Street in downtown Missoula, Montana.

The Fringe Festival phenomenon started in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1947, and has grown to include festivals in Europe, Canada and the United States. The Zootown Fringe is part of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals, headquartered in Minnesota.

Fringe Central for this year's Zootown Fringe will be at The Brink Gallery, located at 111 W Front Street. The Fringe kicked off unofficially with its own First Friday celebration on August 1, 2014 (see review), and featured dramatic performances by Lisa Venuti (Beet Preparation 1-5) and music by MyssLyss and her Mystical Uke and Missincinatti. On August 7, Fringe Central hosted another pre-opening event with Steve on the piano, Chris Robertson, Abraham Rishio and Dr. David Stubes as the dynamic trio followed by Andy Smentanka's latest film.

The official kick-off for the Festival is on August 12, 2014, when the Top Hat Lounge hosts the Opening Night Party and Taste of the Fringe. Ten of the Festival's participants will provide short snippets of their upcoming shows, and local favorite Shakewell will provide the capstone to the evening with a sure-to-be electrifying musical performance. The event also includes a silent auction featuring donations from more than 25 local businesses, and a 50/50 raffle.

Here's the schedule for the night:

6 to 9 p.m. - Silent Auction
6 to 7 p.m. - Basses Covered
7 to 9:30 p.m. - Taste of the Fringe
9:30 to 10:30 p.m. - Minneapolis's hip-hop artist Cherry Sky Studios
10:30 to 11 p.m. - Leif Christian (co-founder of Montana Musicians and Artists Coalition)
11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. - Shakewell

For additional details, check out the calendar on the Fringe's website (

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