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Fall Free for All offers variety

More than 50 free performances to choose from

FREE FOR ALL: The Portland band Horse Feathers performs with the Portland Cello Project during the 2011 Fall Free for All. Photo courtesy Jesse Michener

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The Fall Free for All is set to light up the stages of Broadway Center this weekend with free performances. This community arts festival puts on not one, not ten, but more than 50 performances spanning music, dance, drama, film and even events and activities for kids. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, this is an event the whole family will enjoy.

"The Broadway Center hosts this event as a gift to our amazing and supportive community," says Aaron Stevens, programming manager for the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. "It is also a way to introduce our theaters to a new and broader audience. We believe that our venues belong to our city and are aware that difficult economic times have left many of us in a position where we cannot always afford the tickets prices to see the artists we love. This is an opportunity to see some of those artists and to see some of what the Broadway Center has to offer." 

With more than 50 performances to choose from, both days of the festival are filled with things to do and people to see. Each hour presents new and varied shows. For instance, Saturday kicks off with a Variety Kids Show, a 21+ Lounge, an interactive video installation at the Pantages, a dance festival at Theatre on the Square, Ukulele Ohana at Studio 1, a busking stage, The Fab-5 on an outdoor stage, and activities from a bouncy house to iron tile designing.

That's just what's starting at noon on the first day. I think you can see where I'm going with this.

"There is a huge variety of performances," says Stevens. "I'm not sure it's the best idea, but I have programmed everything from real-life-cartoon, Godfrey Daniels, for the young kids all the way to Seattle's premier burlesque troupe, the Can Can Castaways, who will be performing with Carletta Sue Kay, who is anything but your average singer-songwriter."

Also expect installation artists, fire dancers, improv artists, Academy Award-nominated short films, a traditional tea ceremony, and a great lineup of contemporary dance and ballet. A special highlight for kids is Recess Monkey, a band of three elementary school teachers from Seattle who have received national attention.

Fall Free for All will get its fair share of performers who have received national attention. Stevens is looking forward to seeing Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Theatre at Theatre on the Square on Saturday. Donald Byrd is a Tony Award-nominated choreographer.

"I also am just really looking forward to the buzzing energy that seems to fill the streets during these types of events," he says. "I hope we just keep seeing more and more of these energy-generating events in our city." 

Fall Free for All is free, but does require registration. You can register in advance online via Broadway Center's website - this is the recommended way to go since lines to register the day of the event are guaranteed to be long.

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