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All inclusive

Proctor Arts Fest kicks the quiet and cozy Proctor District into high gear

PROCTOR ARTS FEST: Good, clean fun. Photo credit: Proctor Arts Fest Facebook

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Now in its 15th year, the latest installment of the annual Proctor Arts Fest will feature sidewalk sales, an art show, more than 100 arts vendors, live music and family fun galore. Artwork and events will be featured up and down North Proctor and 26th Street, with Proctor Arts Fest events taking place on Saturday, Aug. 6, and sidewalk sales starting Friday, Aug. 5.

"I suppose all of us think that our fest is the best, but I do believe that we have some things that may be unique," says festival director Eugene Kester. "Because it is so diverse and inclusive, there is a great festive feeling."

While the Proctor Arts Fest includes many things, art is appropriately at the heart of it. For an example, check out pieces at the Proctor Art Gallery and Capers, which will be on display throughout the festival.

The 13th Annual Juried Art Show is an event not to miss. All artwork is allowed into this competition (unless it is deemed socially unacceptable, that is ...) and can be in any of five categories - oil and acrylic, watercolor, photographs, pastel/drawing/print/mixed-media or 3-D. Winners will be selected by the jury in each category, as well as by votes from Arts Fest attendees for the People's Award. The public can view the entries at Mason United Methodist Church on Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Aug. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The fact that we do not pre-jury is unusual for juried art shows. This year's show will have more than 65 artists displaying about 85 pieces," says Kester.

As mentioned, the streets of the Proctor District will be lined with arts and crafts vendors in an impressive range of disciplines. Cloth-fiber, garden art, glass, jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, pottery and wood arts are just some of what you can expect to see.

Those looking for an especially unique event at the Proctor Arts Fest need look no further than artist Alexis St. John, who will be painting a mural in the alley beside the Blue Mouse Theatre.

"The mural is a tribute to the historical Blue Mouse Theatre," says St. John. "The wall will be decorated with old movie posters and movie memorabilia. I will start prepping the wall and blocking in some of the basic shapes so that when I paint during the Proctor Arts Fest, festival goers will be able to see the work come to life. It will be the entire side of the building. I am hoping to get the majority of the mural completed by the end of the festival. If not, I'll complete it within the following few days."

Friday and Saturday, many of the shops in the Proctor District will hold sidewalk sales. Saturday morning and afternoon, the Proctor Farmer's Market will take place as usual, but if you need more food to try, the Bite of Proctor is on from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at businesses throughout this district. Try out everything from Vietnamese coffee to hamburgers and hot dogs.

Proctor Arts Fest extends to music and there will be five stages with live entertainment. Performances will range from gospel choirs to Taiko drummers to local bands to the debut of an original musical called "Pecos Bill" at the Blue Mouse Theatre, which will be put on by local preteens.

"We regard all the music, dance and other performances as art forms," says Kester.

Where Proctor and 28th Street meet is the Kids Fest Area. Family-friendly fun is highlighted here, with a stage designed to appeal to kids and families, as well as fun and games for young ones. Demonstration areas will be set up, too, showing processes like woodturning, metal forging and found-object artwork.

Humans aren't the only species that get to explore their creative sides at the Proctor Arts Fest. The Top Dog Fashion Show and Parade takes place at noon on Saturday at the Click! Family Stage at 28th and Proctor. This event will showcase top dogs in such illustrious categories as "Biggest Ears," "Longest Tail," "Best Dressed," "Fastest Peanut Butter Eater," "Best Singer" and, of course, "Best Kisser."

Proctor Arts Fest

Saturday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sidewalk Sale Aug. 5-6, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
North 26th and Proctor, Tacoma

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