Music, magic and mystery kept Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival attendees entertained June 16-18 in Gahanna.

Right after entering the gates on South Mill Street, Mark Abbati, also known as the Living Statue, had crowds in a trance on June 16 by bringing his characters to life with subtle movements at perfectly timed moments.

He amused the family of Gahanna's Isaac Humston, 7, who styles his hair with a spike.

The statue gestured the boy to get closer and then took a fake lick of the tongue on each of his hands before pretending to further slick back the boy's hair.

Isaac's mother, Paige Humston, said the family recently moved to Gahanna.

She said the new Buskers Bayou entertainment area is fun.

"The kids are astonished (by the statue)," Humston said.

Her husband, Chris Humston, said he liked Friday's music lineup.

Laurie Jadwin, director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and the producer of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, said the music remains the centerpiece of the festival, but the CBJF Committee strives to integrate a new attraction or entertainment option to offer the devoted fan base and to attract new attendees.

In addition to the mysterious statue, the Bayou entertained guests all weekend with chalk and balloon artists, face painting, magicians and a performance by nationally renowned magician-comedian Michael Kent of Hilliard.

He said his show is all about having a good time and forgetting about the stresses of life.

Kent said he likes to leave his audiences entertained.

The water features at Creekside turned out to be fun enough for some of the youngest Blues & Jazz Festival attendees.

Dublin's Connor Lehmann, 21 months, couldn't get enough of the water that flows down a wall in the plaza area.

His father, Eric Lehmann, said this was their first time at the festival.

"I came to meet friends," he said. "This place is so cool. I've been here for other events."

Lehmann said he "for sure" enjoys blues and jazz music, but he expected he would be spending time trying to corral his young son.

Gahanna residents Frank and Eleanor Garcia said they are regulars at the Blues & Jazz Festival.

"We have a routine," she said. "We know where to catch the shuttle, where to enter and where to place our chairs."

Eleanor Garcia said they have been coming to the festival since it started.

"We love it here," she said.

They highly recommended the ribs from Ribman Catering.

That was their dinner June 16 while waiting for the Urban Jazz Coalition to perform on the Jazz Stage, presented by Heartland Bank.

A featured act on Benchmark Bank's Electric Blues Stage on June 16 was Gahanna resident Will Freed's band, featuring John Popper.

Popper is the front man and founder of Blues Traveler, and he's known for his skilled harmonica playing.

They played homage to the late Gregg Allman early in their set.

A few of the other Blues & Jazz Festival acts were Soul Kitch'n, Sean Carney & the Night Owls, Teeny Tucker Band, the Mike Dudley Band, MojoFlo and the Andy Shaw Band.

The three-day festival is Gahanna's annual signature event, providing more than 90 hours of music and entertainment, and it's considered one of the state's largest celebrations of blues and jazz.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla