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Thursday June 1st

'Uniquely Chapel Hill': Festifall will celebrate art and autumn on Franklin Street

<p>On Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 Festifall will take over the west end of Franklin Street, promising a celebration of art, including music, performances and a craft market. Photo courtesy of Melissa Bartoletta.&nbsp;</p>
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On Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 Festifall will take over the west end of Franklin Street, promising a celebration of art, including music, performances and a craft market. Photo courtesy of Melissa Bartoletta. 

On Saturday, October 12, Festifall will take over the west end of Franklin Street. 

Festivities, which are organized by the Town of Chapel Hill's Community Arts and Culture division, begin at 11 a.m. and extend from Kenan Street to Graham Street. Festifall attendees will experience a variety of art, including street performances, live painting and music. Food vendors will be in the streets, and select downtown restaurants will have special Festifall menus.

"The mission of the department is to inspire creativity and celebrate community to make a better Chapel Hill," Melissa Bartoletta, the marketing and communications coordinator for the Community Arts and Culture division for the Town of Chapel Hill, said. "I think that mission lives on throughout everything that we do within Community Arts and Culture."

Open Air Artists, supported by Orange County Arts Commission, will be spread along the sidewalks demonstrating their art processes live. In addition, there will be large-scale painting displays from Darius Quarles and Sarahlaine Calva.

“With this event we want to bring arts experiences to downtown Chapel Hill and bring in different cultural opportunities as well," Bartoletta said. "You can see a lot of diversity and lots of different types of experiences."

Franklin Street will be filled with music and movement. "Dancing In The Streets" will feature an interactive dance zone with different performers of various cultural styles, and Chapel Hill Tire will be hosting the 2019 Main Stage music. 

This is the first year of the festival's new addition, Festifall After Dark, which consists of live music, comedy shows and other performances at various downtown businesses.

“We just want to encourage attendees to stay and hang out in downtown,” Bartoletta said.

Festifall’s Arts & Craft Market, presented by, will include over 75 regional vendors featuring jewelry, paintings, woodworking, mixed media, ceramics and more.

“This year is going to be really exciting for Festifall," Bartoletta said. "We curated the arts market and vendors to be specific to arts experiences."

The Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and UNC’s Arts Everywhere initiative also helped in the planning of Festifall. Their goal is to bring more arts experiences to downtown Chapel Hill and the UNC campus. 

Kathryn Wagner, the associate director for UNC's Arts Everywhere, said Community Arts and Culture reached out to her to help transform Festifall from just a “fun fall street fair” into something more arts-focused.

Wagner said their mission has three goals: arts learning, arts experiences and arts engagement. She said Festifall creates an opportunity to break down barriers and bring a group of communities together around a common creative activity.

UNC's Arts Everywhere will present printmaking in the festival with the help of Supergraphic Print Lab. There will be large-scale print demonstrations and opportunities for festival-goers to create and keep their own Festifall posters.

“Mostly I just hope that there's a lot of different ways that people attending the festival will be engaging with art,” Wagner said. 

UNC's Arts Everywhere is also hosting free music and dancing at Local 506 with a silent disco.

Chris Vitiello will be performing as the Poetry Fox. He writes custom poems for people with his typewriter while wearing a giant fox suit. This will be Vitiello’s fourth year performing at Festifall. 

“It’s always really fun," Vitiello said. "People are happy to be there. People are curious about all the different jumble of crafts and performances and everything happening at the same time. People are in a good mood and ready to try new things.”

"Get Funky on Graham Street" will also offer crafts and performances. Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership will provide public parking lots, decks and on-street parking.

“Festifall really always seems uniquely Chapel Hill, it seems to express something about the city that differentiates it from the other nodes of the Triangle," Vitiello said. "I've always really appreciated that.”


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