Summertime is here, and that means there will be opportunities to shimmy, shake, swing and sway -- or just sit -- and take in live music each week at a free outdoor, Upper Arlington concert series.
The Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Division has presented a summer concert series since at least the 1980s.
This year is no different, as the annual Music in the Parks kicked off June 1 with a concert by swing-soul-funk outfit, The Conspiracy Band, playing the UA Arts Stage at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Sunny 95 Park.
Through July 20, Sunny 95 Park, 4395 Carriage Hill Lane, will host concerts every Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The series is presented by FCBank and has a host of sponsors, including the Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation Department.
"It's a great way to picnic on a Thursday night," said Lynette Santoro-Au, Upper Arlington Cultural Arts manager. "We've been saying 'Transform Your Thursday' nights with Music in the Parks."
In addition to free parking and music, Music in the Parks aspires to provide art and entertainment to the community, while inviting guests to visit a local park that's full of recreation amenities for children.
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs, blankets or other viewing accommodations, as well as their own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.
Additionally, community staple, Huffman's Market, offers free ice scream to those with a sweet tooth.
"We like to share as many art opportunities as we can with the community," Santoro-Au said. "This is just one more art discipline we can highlight.
"Every year, we try to book concerts that appeal to a wide variety of people and tastes. A great community deserves great art."
Not to limit the fun to Thursdays and Sunny 95 Park, the series this year will return to The Green at Kingsdale Center for two Friday concerts June 16 and July 7, which also will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Santoro-Au said some merchants from the shopping center plan to offer discounted sales to coincide with those concerts.
The complete Music in the Parks lineup is:
Sunny 95 Park
* June 8: Agent 99, a '70s cover band
* June 15: Reaganomics, '80s pop
* June 22: Rick Brunetto, Big Band
* June 29: Blair Crimmins & the Hookers, jazz, ragtime, Dixieland
* July 6: Angela Perley and the Howlin' Moons, rock-n-roll
* July 13: Camp ROCK
* July 20: Jazz in July with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra
The Green at Kingsdale
* June 16: Floorwalkers, garage soul
* July 7: The Buzzard Kings, vintage heartland rock
"We try to book local as much as we can, but not all the time," Santoro-Au said. "We have so many wonderful artists nearby that we don't have to go very far to find them.
"This year, we're also doing something a little different where we have guest emcees."
One band set to play that's far from local is the national touring band, Blair Crimmins & the Hookers, who are based in the Atlanta area. In addition to Crimmins, who sings, plays guitar, banjo and piano, the group features a horn section and drums.
Despite its admittedly "racy" name, Crimmins said, the band offers something for all age groups and brings the fun.
"We don't really use the word 'jazz' very often, but that's basically what we are -- various forms of jazz from the early 20th century," Crimmins said via telephone from Atlanta. "We play party music.
"It's a pretty family-friendly show and younger kids seem to enjoy it because it's pretty upbeat."
This will the first time the band will perform at Music in the Parks, but it has played in Columbus and central Ohio in the past.
"There's a lot to offer there," he said. "I like it there.
"We're really glad to be coming back."
Additional Music in the Parks details are available at uaoh.net/mip.