After celebrating its golden anniversary last year, the annual Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival will return for its 51st year Sept. 4.
The event was started in 1966 and after several years of moving from one local park to another, the festival now is a yearly staple in the community.
In addition to celebrating local artists and the arts community, the event draws more than 25,000 people and around 200 artists from throughout the U.S. and beyond, and each year, organizers seek interactive projects to push creativity while inspiring and dazzling guests.
This year's Labor Day Arts Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road.
"The festival showcases the works of local, regional and national artists working in a variety of media," said Lynette Santoro-Au, Upper Arlington Cultural Arts manager.
"A variety of activities add to the festival's success as a family-oriented event: an entertainment stage with local performers playing all day, an art activities area with performances and arts (and) crafts activities for children and adults and a variety of refreshment booths.
"Nearly 200 volunteers make this community event possible."
A full program of the day's events can be found at the "Labor Day Arts Festival" link under the "Parks and Recreation" section of the city's website, uaoh.net.
In addition to offering a multitude of opportunities for visitors to view and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces, children and other guests can make their own sun prints and mixed-media art necklaces.
Two stages will showcase live performances throughout the day, including those by various dance groups, members of the Upper Arlington High School marching band and the Buckeye Ballroom Big Band.
A special event this year will feature a variety of acts by Vaud-Villities performers from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the UA Performance Stage.
The nonprofit performance group performed its first show in 1943, and is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Johnny Steiner, Vaud-Villities' artistic and music director, noted that Randy Skinner, a Tony-nominated Broadway performer, choreographer and director ("42nd Street") and Upper Arlington High School graduate Beverly D'Angelo, a star of stage and screen -- known for her role as Ellen Griswold in the National Lampoon's "Vacation" movies -- are among those who have performed with the troupe over the years.
He also reflected on Vaud-Villities' history and highlights as it prepared for the festival.
"It's amazing to think about this troupe doing a spring variety show each and every year for so many years," he said. "I believe this most recent show was stellar. The songs and dances were excellent, and the spirit felt by the cast, crew and community was wonderful.
"However, the show that so many folks talk about was the time 'the lights went out at Vets.' As you likely know, Veterans Memorial Auditorium was the home of our spring show for years and years, and once the power went out during a show.
"In true show-stopper fashion, the show paused a bit but continued by flashlight – a capella – for the understanding and loving audience."
In addition to handmade brooms, which have for years been a popular offering at the festival, guests this year can get a commemorative "I'm in the Mood for Art" T-shirt, designed by Upper Arlington Cultural Arts Coordinator AnnMarie McCallister, for $10.
They can also learn more about future cultural arts and recreation programming offered by the city's Parks and Recreation Department and Cultural Arts Division.
The arts festival "Best of Show" awards ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on the UA Performance Stage.