Westerville News & Public Opinion

Rock the 'Ville

Saturday bash Uptown will celebrate music, arts

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Rock the 'Ville returns to Uptown Saturday aiming to celebrate Westerville's culture of art and music with a family friendly, summer-ending bash.

The event in its second year, sponsored by the Arts Council of Westerville and Westerville Uptown Merchants Association, runs from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 9 and will feature three stages of entertainment, children's activities and various art offerings.

WUMA President Debbie Benatti said organizers want the free event to focus on what Westerville has to offer, not spending money.

"There's nothing for sale -- it's all free," she said. "It's a celebration of art and music. It's not that we're asking you to buy any art or any music. We just want you to enjoy being in the beautiful Uptown area."

Seven acts will perform music on the event's City Hall Stage and Youth Stage -- featuring younger performers from Westerville -- and dancers, musicians and performers take to the Mural Stage.

Benatti said the goal is to provide a sound that anyone can enjoy.

"I tried to get some (artists) that were different genres," she said. "That's why we have country, jazz, blues and other styles."

Like a street fair or other festival for some communities, Benatti said she hopes the end-of-summer event can be a farewell for students who might be leaving for school or a last get-together before children and parents start their busy school year.

"It's kind of the last hurrah before school starts," she said. "So it's your last Saturday night to have fun. People start getting up early that Monday, so we try to make it kind of a reunion, hoping that the college kids who haven't left yet can come and see the bands before they go away."

A main feature of Rock the 'Ville is the sidewalk chalk, where seven professional chalk artists will make masterpieces on the Uptown walkways. The first 50 families to arrive will also get a free box of chalk to contribute their own art, provided by Amish Originals.

The sidewalk chalk is just one family-oriented activity that Benatti says she focused on this year.

"We really beefed up the children's activities," she said. "Last year we had two, but this year there's a lot more interaction."

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