NORTHAMPTON – Every Memorial Day weekend a magical city rises up in Northampton’s fairground by the river.
Cavernous barns are transformed into elegant exhibition halls, remarkable sculptures are installed in beautiful gardens, peaked tents appear, a soundstage is built and local chefs fire up their grills. A carefully selected collection of 260 artists and fine craft makers from all corners of America descend upon the historic Three County Fairgrounds, 54 Old Ferry Road, for three days of astounding visual arts, scrumptious food, fabulous live music and great fun.
Stroll through flowering sculpture gardens filled with artful delights, enjoy special exhibits, demonstrations and activities May 24 to 26. Hours of operation are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Laughing Matters!” is the themed exhibit, which explores the visual lexicon of all that makes people smile. From visual puns and exaggeration to satire and whimsy, the exhibitors prove that a little levity can go a very long way. This special show, which includes functional, decorative and collectible work in all media, is mounted at the Gazebo in the Arena Building, in the Sculpture Garden – with examples throughout the fair.
There will also be a Silent Art Auction to benefit Cancer Connection. Cancer Connection is a haven where people with cancer, their loved ones and caregivers learn to cope. Comfort, healing, connection and compassion are provided through support groups, integrative therapy, creative activities and education. All services are free of charge.
Hundreds of beautiful works have been donated by the exhibiting artists. Paradise City’s Silent Art Auctions have raised more than $350,000 for community nonprofits over the years.
The Festival Dining Tent is a microcosm of the vibrant restaurant scene in Northampton. Check out some the region’s best chefs, with menus from around the world. While dining, fairgoers may enjoy a top-notch lineup of music on the Soundstage. Paradise City brings the blues to the Soundstage with the Art Steele Band on Saturday. The three soaring voices of the Valley Jazz Divas belt out tunes from the Great American Songbook on Sunday. For Memorial Day, Viva Quetzal’s Andean music envelopes the dining tent with the sounds of nearly 30 instruments, many indigenous to South America.
Admission is $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and $8 for students (group discounts available). A three-day pass costs $16. Those age 12 and younger are free. Parking is also free.
For more information, call 800-511-9725 or visit www.paradisecityarts.com