An Occasion for the Arts celebrates art, food, music and literature

Williamsburg’s annual An Occasion for the Arts festival is known for celebrating art in its many forms.

Two blocks of Duke of Gloucester Street, one block of North Boundary Street and all of Prince George Street will be dedicated to youth art, live entertainment, activities, food and artist vendors Friday through Sunday.

The event began in 1969 and transitioned into a three-day art show in 2016. This year, it continues to celebrate exceptional art from around the world through a large schedule of programming that aims to draw a diverse crowd.

“We’re a fine arts show, yet we are appealing to the whole family,” said Stuart Honenberger, An Occasion for the Arts president. “It’s not exclusive even though it’s fine arts.”

Thousands will peruse the closed streets, weaving through vendors and feasting their eyes on youth art, paintings, drawings, clothes, jewelry and other creations during the free juried art show throughout the weekend. Artists will be at the show to talk with visitors and sell their work.

The youth art show, which is usually indoors, will be outside along Prince George Street this year. Also, Honenberger said the event is collaborating with Blue Talon Bistro and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra.

Blue Talon Bistro will present an artistic culinary experience by creating hot dogs 40 ways Saturday night. The event focuses on combining art with relaxation and includes a musical performance by local band Joe's Day Off.

“It’s always been a desire for us to have something on Saturday night that keeps the energy here, keeps the energy downtown and keeps people here enjoying the setting,” Honenberger said.

The festival’s collaboration with the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra is a two-day affair.

The orchestra will perform “Symphony at the Movies,” featuring soundtracks from “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and “Trolls,” four times inside the Kimball Theatre. Shows will be at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. The concert is $25 for adults and $12 for children.

“We have an orchestra right here in Williamsburg, so to have them performing during this fine arts weekend just makes all the sense in the world,” Honenberger said.

In addition to celebrating artwork such as paintings, mixed media, sculptures and drawings, An Occasion for the Arts coincides with the Williamsburg Book Festival, which honors literary arts at the Stryker Center (412 N. Boundary St.) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Want to go?

When: 6-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Duke of Gloucester Street, North Boundary Street, Prince George Street and Merchants Square.

Cost: Free and open to the public. Some events are an additional cost.

More info and complete schedule: aofta.org

Reach Joseph at njoseph@dailypress.com. Follow her on Twitter at @heynatjo.

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