By Aimee Hancock
PIQUA — Mainstreet Piqua and the Piqua Arts Council have partnered together to present “A Taste of Piqua.” This new event, slated for this fall, is a hybrid of Mainstreet Piqua’s “Taste of the Arts” and the Piqua Arts Council’s “Arts & Ale Festival.”
According to Mainstreet Piqua Executive Director Lorna Swisher, COVID-19 played a role in this change in events.
“We knew pretty early in the year that probably bringing together a large group of people in May was not really a possibility, so we started a conversation with the Piqua Arts Council,” Swisher said. “(This event) will include the funnest elements of both of these events brought together in one event.”
A Taste of Piqua, set for Saturday, Sept. 18, will be an all-day festival from noon until 10 p.m.
“It will be a very cool mix of both of those events,” Swisher said.
Two popular aspects of the Taste of the Arts event are the food and live music, Swisher said, so several food vendors and musical artists will be booked to attend A Taste of Piqua.
“The cool thing is with it being so much longer (than Taste of the Arts), we will have different kinds of music on the stage and an opportunity for different genres and different energy levels, so that will be a great part of the event,” she said.
The Arts & Ale Festival, as its name suggests, provides attendees with the opportunity to purchase different ales and beers, and Swisher, who said this aspect will be incorporated into the Taste of Piqua event.
“We don’t traditionally have beer at Taste of the Arts, so this will be added this year in a beer garden type of environment,” she said.
Art will also be a big part of the festival.
“The (Piqua) Arts Council has connections with different amazing artists, who will bring their stuff to sell, so it’s a great opportunity to do that,” Swisher said.
The “Kid’s Zone” is another popular attraction traditionally included at past Taste of the Arts events, and it will be carried over to this new festival.
“We have already lined up a number of groups to provide activities for kids at no cost, so it’s something for parents and families to do together,” Swisher said.
According to Swisher, as of now, this hybrid event is set to take place this year only. Depending on the community response and outcome of the event, the two organizations may discuss permanently combining the two events.
Swisher said much of the festival’s details are still being hashed out, so specific food vendors, artists, and musicians will be announced at a later date. The event will be free and open to the public.
Another annual event, “Rock Piqua,” will also look a bit different this year.
In years past, Rock Piqua has included three concerts in June, July, and August. This event has always been organized through the partnership of Mainstreet Piqua and Piqua Arts Council.
“Once again, we were not sure if we would be able to bring groups together as we have traditionally, so this year, we’re doing a one-day music festival in August,” Swisher said. “Instead of three four-hour concerts, we’re going to have one 10- or 12-hour concert on a Saturday afternoon in downtown.”
According to Swisher, this year’s Rock Piqua, scheduled for Aug. 21, will include two different stages and many different genres of musicians. Food trucks will also be included.
The main stage will be under the mural by Creative Signs and the second stage will be in Canal Place, which will be cordoned off exclusively for the event.
The exact outline of the event is still being finalized, Swisher said, but the organizations are anticipating a “free-flowing” event where people can come and go, have lunch or dinner, or just hang out. Exact hours are to-be-determined, but Swisher said it will be held from around noon to 10 p.m. The event is free.
“This is a really great event because we do get such amazing sponsorship support (and) we are very proud to partner with the Arts Council to bring this to the community as a free event,” Swisher said.
Follow Mainstreet Piqua and the Piqua Arts Council on Facebook, or visit www.piquaartscouncil.org or www.mainstreetpiqua.com, for updates about these events and to see what else the organizations have planned.