By James Beaty
From music and food, to jewelry and dancers, everything is in place to bring a variety of cultures to McAlester this weekend.
The city’s second annual CultureFest is set from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday between Third Street and Main Street in downtown McAlester
Musical and dance activities will emanate from the main stage, which will be set up at the intersection of Second Street and Choctaw Avenue.
Unlike last year’s CultureFest, which was dampened by an unseasonable August rain, the weather forecast for this Saturday calls for sunny skies and a high of 87 degrees.
Approximately 25 vendors are set to participate in the festival, organizers said.
“We will have our food courts and vendors set up on Choctaw Avenue between Second and Thirds streets,” said Stephanie Giacomo of Pride in McAlester, one of those who is helping organize the event.
Outdoor vendors are expected to have a variety of culinary offerings, along with jewelry, candles, clothing and other items.
Cooling and misting stations will also be set up for those who want to cool off, according to Giacomo.
Stage performances are set to start at 11 a.m. and continue through 8 p.m., with the following lineup:
• 11 a.m. — The Captain Ledge Band, billed as a trio that plays “newgrass music.”
• 11:30 a.m. —The Zumba Dance Team, a local dance and exercise group.
• Noon — Aislinn & the Snake River Gang, performing country and gospel music.
• 1 p.m. — Cleghorn, billed as a band that mixes original folk-rock songwriting “with energy, Celtic fiddle and bagpipe tunes.”
• 2 p.m. — McAlester Tae Kwon Do, includes a demonstration of the martial art form.
• 2:30 p.m. — Bandan Koro, billed as an African drum and dance ensemble.
• 4 p.m. —Choctaw Dancers, includes performances of traditional Native American dances.
• 4:30 p.m. —Limited Supply, billed as an alternative rock group.
• 5:30 p.m. —Signs of Warning, consists of musicians from 12 to 15 who aim to “bring a modern twist to rock ‘n roll.”
• 7 p.m. — Cleghorn, the Celtic folk-rock band, returns for its closing set.
One of CultureFest’s activities involves getting a “passport” which can be presented to participating downtown merchants for a stamp, along with a small item.
Obtaining a stamp from all 10 downtown stores that are participating qualifies the bearer to enter a raffle, with prizes consisting of baskets from Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma, according to organizers of the event.
The McAlester Area Arts and Humanities Council has worked with McAlester Main Street, Pride in McAlester, the McAlester Chamber of Commerce, the city of McAlester and others to help make this year’s CultureFest possible.
“We’re proud to be a part of bringing this to festival to McAlester,” Giacomo said. “We think events like this will advance our community.”
Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.