The 2009 installment of Gahanna's Blues & Jazz Festival will feature something new for old-timers -- not that it necessarily needed something new.

The 2009 installment of Gahanna's Blues & Jazz Festival will feature something new for old-timers -- not that it necessarily needed something new.

The festival, slated for June 19-21 in the Creekside area, has always been one of the biggest draws for Gahanna since its start.

Event organizers have added what they call Acoustic Alley.

"It's been generating enthusiasm, especially at the local level," said Patty Donahey Geiger, who handles some publicity for the festival. She works for PDG Communications.

Geiger said Acoustic Alley is sponsored by Music Go Round, 4681 Morse Road. The Jazz Arts Group and Columbus Blues Alliance are providing programming.

"Acoustic Alley provides an intimate performance space at the festival and an additional opportunity for talent in central Ohio to perform because the stage schedule at Creekside fills up early," Geiger said.

She also said wine has been added to the list of available beverages this year.

"And there are a variety of new amusement rides this year, with many geared to teens and young adults plus new rides for younger children," Geiger said. "Also, free children's activities have been expanded."

Geiger said the festival always has been a good place to bring the family, something supported by a 2008 survey taken at the festival.

In response to the question, "What is the main reason you attended today?" 31 percent re-sponded that it was "something to do," another 30 percent re-sponded that it was "for the music" and 8 percent responded, "to entertain their children."

"At no time during this survey, to our knowledge, did anyone complain about the presence or quantity of family activities," Geiger said. "Informally, we have had attendees tell us they enjoy having a blues and jazz music festival where they can feel safe and comfortable bringing their children."

Although the majority of Blues & Jazz Festival entertainment is targeted to adults, with national, regional and local blues and jazz entertainers, "We've responded to audience needs and interests by providing a full spectrum of entertainment for all ages," Geiger said.

This year's children's activities include the following:

Musical Discovery Zone presented by Giant Eagle: A great place for children to learn about music, the event features hands-on musical performances on Saturday with entertainers from the Jazz Arts Group and, on Sunday, from the Columbus Blues Alliance.

Children interact with the musicians, and as they gain basic knowledge, will play instruments, including tambourinesand kazoos. Once they've mastered their instruments, they get to take their instruments home.

This event is in a tent, on the upper level of Creekside Plaza, and runs from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 20, and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

Children's activities and crafts: Children can enjoy a variety of activities in the children's activities area, in the lagoon area of Creekside Plaza. It will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 20, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 21.

Activities include make-and-take crafts, spin art, games, make-your-own musical instrument and a clown creating balloon characters.

For this year's event, the festival is partnering with Kya's Krusade, a Gahanna-based nonprofit organization that serves children and families affected by physical disabilities through an art therapy program, educational workshops and diagnostic assistance.

Kya's Krusade will offer its own special brand of crafts and activities to the festival's smallest attendees from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 19, on the upper level of Creekside Plaza. On Saturday and Sunday, Kya's Krusade will join with the festival to provide expanded children's activities and crafts.

gvickers@thisweeknews.com