As the annual South Norwalk Arts Festival ramps up to kick off it's 37th year Friday evening, Derek Signore, Director of Media Relations, reflected on how the event has grown from a small, local event to a celebration of the vibrant SoNo Art scene that is anticipated to draw more than 60,000 visitors this weekend.
"Obviously [the event's] grown in size and scope over the years, but I like to think we’ve just gotten not just bigger, but better and this year I think we’ve managed to up the ante," Signore said. "We've brought in some radio and international artists for our music line up. We’re trying to keep this moving forward so it becomes one of the bigger music festivals in the area."
From Friday night through Sunday in the heart of SoNo's Historic District at S. Main and Washington streets, there will be more than 100 fine artists and 40 musical artists exhibiting their talents throughout town and across two stages. Signore said it's been nice to see the two types of art mesh more fluidly in the recent years, as opposed to the strict separation they had kept earlier.
"As far as the separation of music and art is concerned, I think there is much more of an identity now with a combination of both," he said. "Previously, it was very strictly 'Arts by day, music by night.' I think that really, because of the attendance, we’ve been able to continue to grow the two closer over the years."
Signore said there's no where else the festival could be held. SoNo was just so rich, culturally, that it was the obvious choice int he area to plant the roots of the festival's efforts and he said the community has been phenomenal throughout the years and being part of the reason so many outside visitors make the trip to the event.
"During the SoNo Arts celebration, we’re able to have an event where the residents are here, they love it and want to be part of it and it attracts other people," he said. "These are the people that are here 365. We’re only here a few days a year. They’ve got the best perspective and they've been part of this celebration for years."
For a rundown of the almost 150 artists in attendance, the food that will be available of the musical guests to be featured, visit sonoarts.org. The event is free to all.