Better Together: First Friday, Lackawanna Arts Fest And Jazz Festival Team Up For Jam-packed Weekend

August 1, 2018

A trio of summer traditions fall under a new umbrella together this year — the inaugural Lackawanna Arts Weekend.

The First Friday Art Walk, Scranton Jazz Festival and Lackawanna Arts Fest (formerly Arts on the Square) take over the city’s downtown with a vibrant mix of music, fine art, crafts and more starting Friday, Aug. 3.

“I really hope that this is just the beginning of putting Scranton on the map for our thriving arts community,” said Cristin Powers, ScrantonMade founder. “It does take a while to get things off the ground, but I think that we did a good job this year and I’m hoping that it just brings people from outside the area, from neighboring counties, to Scranton.”

ScrantonMade’s Lackawanna Arts Fest spurred the change as it sought to move from its traditional July weekend “to take away some of the traffic downtown that day,” since it usually coincided with the county’s three-on-three basketball tournament, Powers said. Organizers brainstormed and decided to move the one-day offering of items from local artisans and craftspeople on Lackawanna County Courthouse Square to the same weekend as First Friday and the 14th annual Scranton Jazz Festival, “hopefully making Scranton and Lackawanna County a tourist attraction for that weekend,” Powers said.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday, with most stops open from 6 to 9 p.m. or similar, First Friday again brings a range of artistic mediums to locales across the downtown. Many also plan to offer live music, and First Friday has hired roving musicians to entertain throughout the downtown.

Uniting First Friday with the other two events will “add so much” to each event since each compliments the others so well, said Thom Welby, First Friday’s acting executive director. It gives them a chance to show off their events to new audiences, he explained.

“It’s so exciting,” Welby said. “We know that we’re going to be bringing in people from outside the market that normally wouldn’t come in, and we have the opportunity to show off these other events. ... None of them take away from the other. I think it’s such a great opportunity to show off our area, and our First Friday events have been getting stronger every month.”

The jazz festival also opens Friday night with a happy hour at 5 followed by Voodoo BBQ Brass Band at 8 and Special EFX All-Stars — featuring Chieli Minucci, Eric Marienthal, Regina Carter, Lao Tizer, Joel Rosenblatt and Jerry Brooks — at 9 at Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel.

“They are a conglomeration of musicians that not only have they been award-winning and together for many years ... but individually they’ve had some significant accomplishments on their own with solo albums and playing for other musical greats,” said Sarah Effertz, jazz festival marketing director.

Performances continue with jazz walks around the city Friday and Saturday nights and shows through Sunday.

“People love being able to then just filter out (of the concert and) walk through the city of Scranton, because the city’s beautiful at night, too,” Effertz said. “And on a summer evening, it’s a really nice walk.”

Other headliners include the Bernie Williams Collective — which features jazz guitarist and former New York Yankees player Bernie Williams — performing Saturday, Aug. 4, at 8:30 p.m., and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis — son of Ellis and brother of Branford, Wynton and Jason — who plays with the SJF Big Band on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 8:30 p.m.

Visitors also will find live music at Lackawanna Arts Fest, taking place Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. on the square, where many familiar vendors will return alongside some new faces.

“More artists from out of town are making this a show on their calendars,” Powers said. “We have everything from handmade furniture, candles, jewelry, art, accessories, children’s accessories, wine and, mead, baklava, cupcakes, local honey. Really everything that our area has to offer from local independent artists and craftsmen.”

Live entertainment will come from Yam Yam, Chris Kearney & Friends, Starbird, Rogue Chimp and James Brown Dance Party, while people of all ages can enjoy free activities and even get to meet artists and crafters whose work is for sale.

“I think people really appreciate spending their money locally and getting to hand that over, say, to the person making the products,” Powers said. “It’s a really feel-good buy. I think that it’s just a great, family-friendly event to come to.”

Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden St., will offer an outdoor cafe, while Terra Preta Prime has something special planned at its new location, 301 N. Washington Ave., Powers said.

The weekend precedes the Governor’s Awards for the Arts, set for Wednesday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. at Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple. The lead up to that event also includes a Pennsylvania arts film screening on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Ritz, 222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton; Scranton Fringe Festival guide launch, Thursday, Aug. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., Adezzo, 515 Center St., Scranton; an architectural building tour, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 5:30 p.m., Catlin House, 232 Monroe Ave., Scranton; and “The Arts & the Public Good: A Forum,” Aug. 8, 3 p.m., Scranton Cultural Center.

Organizers hope the arts weekend brings more people to the county.

“Now that we have First Friday, Lackawanna Arts (Fest) and the jazz festival, it’s really exciting,” Effertz said. “It gives Lackawanna County and the surrounding area just a lot of activities, and it’s a lot of options to have a lot of great family fun. And it just enriches our area.”

Contact the writer: cwest@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; @cheaneywest on Twitter


First Friday events

“Abstract Works,” works by Holly Yorkonis, Peculiar Slurp Shop, 307 Penn Ave.

“Artfest Intro,” works by Sammy Rivera, Yoga West, 311 Adams Ave.

“Experience NEAP,” works by NEAP; with music by the Boastfuls; Electric City Escape, 507 Linden St.

Fall line preview and pre-order, works by Kari Johnson, AOS Metals, 527 Bogart Court

“Finding a new niche” fragrance announcement, NOTE Fragrances, 401 Spruce St.

“Iviah Mcnally Art,” with music by Micheal Stec, the Giving Tree Wellness Center, 311 Penn Ave.

“Letterpress Broadsides” group show, with music by John Meza, the Workshop, 2300 Adams Ave.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” works by John Lund, Marquis Art & Frame, 515 Center St.

Multiple exhibits, “Texture and Motion,” works by Mike Caggiano, Steve Ward and Kat Darko; with Penn State Master Gardener display; and “Autos on the Ave,” works by Zeedakay Pictures; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 232 Wyoming Ave.

NEPA Candles fall collection, works by David Temprine; with live music; Opulence on Spruce, 310 Spruce St.

OM Indian Handcrafts and Harem Handbags, works by Diksha Dosaya; with jazz and ’50s music by Anthony Natiello; Bella Faccias Personalized Chocolates&Gifts LLC, 516 Lackawanna Ave.

“Photographs,” by Amaya Hadnagy Photography; with music by Bill Carter Jazz Trio; Adezzo, 515 Center St.

“Recent Work,” works by Trinka Ravaioli; with live music; the Velvet Elvis, 523 Bogart Court

“Re-Memory: An Exploration in Visual Art and Story Telling,” works by residents of Wesley Village/United Methodist Homes; with music by Stephen Murphy; Leahy Hall, Kane Forum at University of Scranton, Jefferson Avenue

“Rust Blooms,” works by Alyssha Csuk, Camerawork Gallery, 515 Center St.

“Soulful Stitches,” works by Melissa Froh, Northern Light Espresso Bar and Cafe, 536 Spruce St.

Tween open mic night, Lackawanna County Children’s Library, 520 Vine St.

Works by Sam Kuchwara, with music by Groove Berries, Lavish Body & Home,

600 Linden St.

Scranton Jazz Festival schedule

All performances take place in the outdoor pavilion at Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, 700 Lackawanna Ave., unless otherwise noted. For an updated schedule and details, visit scrantonjazzfestival.org.


Friday, Aug. 3

5 p.m.: Jazz Happy Hour, Trax patio, Radisson

8 p.m.: Voodoo BBQ Brass Band

9 p.m.: Special EFX All-Stars

10 p.m.: Jazz Walk (artists and venues to be announced)


Saturday, Aug. 4

7:30 p.m.: La Cuccina

8:30 p.m.: The Bernie Williams Collective

10 p.m.: Jazz Walk (artists and venues to be announced)


Sunday, Aug. 5

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Jazz Brunch, Carmen’s Restaurant, Radisson (Not a festival ticketed event; offered by Radisson)

5:30 p.m.: Camp Crescendo Jazz SJF Student Combos

6:30 p.m.: Teen Town

7:30 p.m.: The Hendrik Meurkens Samba Jazz Quartet

8:30 p.m.: The SJF Big Band featuring Delfeayo Marsalis

10 p.m.: Jazz Jam, Trax Platform Lounge, Radisson

Lackawanna Arts Fest

When: Saturday, Aug. 4, noon to 8 p.m.

Where: Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Scranton

Details: Admission is free. For more information, visit scrantonmade.com or the Facebook event page.

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