Magic is coming to this year's Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, along with more than 90 hours of live music and entertainment on five stages.
Laurie Jadwin, director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and the producer of the Creekside Blues Jazz Festival, said the festival's variety of first-class music remains the centerpiece of the event, but organizers strive to integrate a new attraction or entertainment option to offer the devoted fan base and to attract new attendees.
"This also is a way for us to continually freshen the festival, satisfying both those fans who want to see their favorite bands year after year as well as fans who want to experience something new," Jadwin said.
This year's festival is scheduled from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, June 16; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 17; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 18, in the Creekside Park and Plaza, 117 Mill St.
Thanks to the support of the Gahanna Rotary Club, Jadwin said, the new Buskers Bayou entertainment area is being featured this year on South Mill Street.
"The name was derived from what it will represent," Jadwin said. "Busker is a traditional name for street performers, and 'Bayou,' of course, ties in with the festival's rich blues and jazz heritage."
She said the area would feature interactive performances throughout the weekend designed to appeal to festival fans of all ages.
On Friday evening, the festival will welcome the Living Statue, also known as Mark Abbati, who is always amazing and entertaining, Jadwin said.
From 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday, attendees can check out a special performance by comedy magician Michael Kent of Hilliard.
"What I do is a comedy-magic show," he said. "It's very interactive with the crowd. It will be a good audience for it. People who like magic will appreciate my show."
Kent said he makes fun of magic while doing magic.
"In most of the shows, I use things that you have around your house," he said. "My goal is to sort of make you forget about the worries of your life. I don't want to leave you frustrated, but I want to leave you entertained."
Kent said the show is about having a good time and forgetting what is outside a little bit.
He has performed in 47 states and 15 countries.
Kent was named 2014 Entertainer of the Year after being nominated for the award in Campus Activities Magazine for three consecutive years in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Jadwin said the Buskers Bayou also will showcase artists who live in Gahanna.
For example, Art Garden Studios will offer an interactive painting activity on Saturday afternoon, where festival guests can create works of art in minutes and take home a memory.
Gahanna resident Chris Fry, also known as the Chalk Goblin, will make the streets of Gahanna his canvas with his artwork.
Those who have attended Safety Town will recognize the magic of "Fireman Dave," also on the list.
Jadwin said this year marks the 19th anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Gahanna's annual signature event and one of the state's largest celebrations of blues and jazz.
Daily admission is $7 Friday and Sunday and $10 Saturday. Weekend passes are $18 through Thursday, June 15 and $21 at the gate. Admission is free all weekend for children under age 12 and active or retired military members with identification (plus their immediate family).
A complete schedule of entertainment and additional information is available at creeksidebluesandjazz.com or by calling 614-418-9114.