|Gering Arts Festival: Get your art on|
|June 07, 2012 Elizabeth Gross|
Courtesy photo Colorado artist Bill Coleman performs as Stretch the Stiltwalking Clown.
Gather the family for a day of art and entertainment at the 11th annual Gering Arts Festival in Legion Park this Saturday, June 9. The arts festival provides local and regional artists an opportunity to showcase their work and interact with art enthusiasts. “We have an exciting lineup of local and regional artists this year and some new features in the park that will really delight audiences of all ages,” said Gering Merchant Lisa Betz. The festival is hosted by the Gering Merchants Association.
Members of the North Platte Valley Artist Guild plan to showcase their work in the park that day. Artists from neighboring Colorado will also run booths that day. The arts festival also includes performing artists of all types such as the Los Guadalupanos Cultural Dancers, the Green Valley Homesteaders, ACACIA Band, Doc the Clown and friend Mertel Ann, a magic show, Stretch the Clown, and even a visit from Gering pioneer Ida McCumsey.
One of the favorite annual events is the chalk art contest. “Last year the competition was fierce,” said Betz. “The merchants would like to see some entries celebrating the 125th birthday of Gering. The contest will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the grand prize this year will be $100 cash.
A new performer to the festival this year is Stretch the Clown aka Bill Coleman. Coleman is a clown and stilt performer from Denver, Colo. When not performing at various festivals throughout the country, Coleman runs a residential window and blinds cleaning company. Stilt walking had always been a hobby for Coleman and he ran in various stilt races throughout Colo. “I didn’t want to give up what I was doing but I needed something to try to capture my creative compulsions,” said Coleman.
Coleman’s clown career began one day while traveling to work. “I thought it would be fun to do a few parades on stilts,” said Coleman. On his way to work, he spotted a clown mobile which belonged to the Colorado Clowns. He made contact with the organization which led to his first parade. Coleman first performed as Uncle Sam during a St. Patrick’s Day parade with the Colorado Clowns. Afterwards, Coleman was inspired to continue with clown training which he received from Ringling Circus Clowns.
Coleman began performing at various Colorado county festivals. He has also performed at the Washington County Fair in St. George, Utah and the North Dakota State Fair. Seven years ago, Coleman added the solar-powered bubble tower, a machine that produces huge soap bubbles high in the air. It has become one of the fastest growing elements of his entertainment offerings. The solar-powered Bubble Tower is made from reclaimed billboard vinyl, jute, polyester table cloths, and burlap coffee bags.
Coleman has performed in various events in Nebraska but this will be his first time in Gering. “We haven’t performed in the Scottsbluff/ Gering area, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Coleman.
Be sure to keep your eye out for Coleman as Stretch the Stiltwalking Clown during the festival. He will be doing walkabouts throughout the day.
There will be something for everyone at the Gering Arts Festival this year. All the entertainment is free and open to the public. Cornhusker Roast will be selling food items throughout the day. The fun begins at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The Gering Arts Festival is hosted by the Gering Merchants Association, in partnership with sponsors, Gering Keno, the City of Gering, Monument Inn and Suites, Creative Signs by Cozad, Gering Citizen, Hometown Family Radio and KNEB.
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