Merchants Association wants event to highlight Cedar Springs strip as an ‘all-day street,’ not just a nightclub entertainment district

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 17, 2009.

With about a week left before the first Cedar Springs Art Festival, at least 60 artists ranging from painters to potters, from knitters to glass blowers have already signed up to participate, according to Scott Whittall, president of the Cedar Springs Merchants Association.

And more are registering every day, he said.

"Everybody is rarin’ to go," Whittall said this week. "The whole merchants association is very excited. This is going to be a great first-time-out event for us."

The festival begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, and will stay open until 7 p.m. Cedar Springs Road will be blocked off from Reagan Street to Throckmorton Street, and Throckmorton will be blocked off from Cedar Springs to Dickason Avenue, Whittall said.

The section of the two streets blocked off for the festival is smaller than usual, and that could have caused some problems.

"Since this is our first arts festival, we had to have a whole lot of cooperation from the city," Whittall said. "They wanted us to close Cedar Springs from Oak Lawn to Wycliff, but the festival just isn’t big enough for that.

"We had a lot of help from a lot of people down at the city, from the traffic department and [District 14 City Councilwoman] Angela Hunt’s office and the special events office. They helped us out a lot. They really want to see this grow, too, and it is really nice to see that kind of effort from the city," Whittall said.

He said that Red Bull, the corporate sponsor for the festival, is providing large tents, called "wigwams," that will, in effect, create one long tent down the middle of Cedar Springs, with artists’ booths arranged underneath.

"That way, even if it rains, people can go from booth to booth under the tent without getting out in the rain," Whittall said. "On Throckmorton, we will have the smaller, individual tent booths set up."

A main stage will be set up on the patio at The Mining Co., 3903 Cedar Springs Road, with local favorites performing throughout the day. Entertainers include Anton Shaw, Anden, Mel Arizpe, Gary Floyd and Denise Lee, according to Whittall.

One thing that won’t be found, Whittall said, is a lot of food vendors. "We want the restaurants on the strip to get that business," he explained. "Everyone will be open. All the clubs will be open."

That is, in fact, the purpose of the festival to introduce new people to the Cedar Springs shopping and entertainment district, and to bring back those who haven’t been out in awhile.

"Our main deal, and what we told the folks from the city, is that we want this event to help promote Cedar Springs as an all-day street, not just a nighttime clubbing street," Whittall said. "This will be a great way to showcase everything Cedar Springs has to offer."


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 17, 2009.
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