This weekend, downtown Durham will come alive with music, food and entertainment, as the 39th annual CenterFest Arts Festival gets underway.
CenterFest—one of the largest arts festival in North Carolina—showcases a large number of visual artists, musicians and craftspeople. Over 140 fine artists and craftsmen have registered to perform at the event, and the festival will also host non-profit groups, community and creative organizations and locally sourced foods. Between Saturday and Sunday, festival attendees will have a chance to eat, shop, listen and browse their way through a wide array of musical genres and artistic styles. The event is one of the city’s most popular offerings, and over 25,000 people are expected to attend this year.
The festival promotes engagement with the Durham community through art and gives many local artists a chance to display their talents. The Citizen’s Choice Award gives the public a chance to select a favorite artist from a diverse group of painters, clothing designers, jewelry makers, potters and photographers. Those looking for a musical experience will enjoy the expansive list of scheduled performers. From Durham Jazz Orchestra to traditional Indian dance, there is something to suit every musical interest.
CenterFest does more than simply offer Durham residents an opportunity to immerse themselves in the local arts culture, however. The festival also serves as a platform for local government and nonprofit agencies, many of which engage the public through formal demonstrations, consultations and political campaigning. CenterFest promotes a dual message of civic engagement and appreciation of the arts—a combination that makes the festival a valuable experience for the entire community.
This broader community includes Duke students. Between our academic, social and professional commitments, it can be hard for students to branch out and explore the city we live in. Durham is a vibrant, active and progressive city that continues to gain national attention for its wide array of cultural, artistic and economic opportunities. It is a city on the rise, and, as members of this community, we owe it to ourselves to get out and explore.
CenterFest is just one of many stimulating events in Durham. In order for us to make the most of our time at Duke, we should step off campus and give these kinds of events a chance. Becoming active in the community is a solid first step towards making our time in the Bull City meaningful and fun.
The CenterFest Arts Festival will be open on Saturday, September 21 from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 22 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.