Children’s programs to gain from Kirby Fest
Over the past three years, more than 22,000 students visited F. M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts to attend free children’s programming.
Lastyear, after funds froman anonymousdonordwindled, the KirbyCenterhadto brainstormabout ways tokeeptheYoungPeople’sTheater Series free for audiences. From that grewthevenue’s first fundraiser, one that returnsonSaturday.
The second F. M. Kirby Fest: A Night of Pints, Pinot and PerformingArts kicks off at 5 p. m. at the downtownWilkes- Barre venue. Executive directorWill Beekman said this year’s event includes “more of everything” at a lower rate. The all- inclusive tickets cost $ 25 for Kirby members and $ 30 for nonmembers in advance, and $ 35 the day of the event.
To align with the night’s laidback vibe, guests can wander among the tables of food and drink vendors at their own pace. Unlike traditional Kirby Center events, people do not receive assigned seats and can eat and sitwherever they choose— even on the stage.
“What I find I am most excited for was that at last year’s event, before it was even over, vendors were asking if wewere doing it again,” Beekman said. “They got just as much out of it as vendors as our patrons did. Those vendors were excited to come back on board, and then other vendors heard about it. I don’t want to say it wasn’t difficult ... butwe found it relatively easier to get somany people involved this year.”
Lauren Pluskey McLain, director of development, and Joell Yarmel, manager of membership and corporate sponsorship, booked more than 30 food, wine and beer vendors to place around the theater’s chandelier lobby, mezzanine lobby and downstairs gallery.
Vendors involved in the event includeBennyBrewing, Nimble Hill Winery& Brewery, andNorth Slope, SusquehannaandWallenpaupack brewing companies; winefromMaiolatesiWine Cellars, PisanoFamily Wines, andBartolaiandFreasFarm wineries; andfood fromSoupChic, Genetti’s, Rodano’s, StegmaierMansion, CityMarket& CafeandArena Bar& Grill, amongothers.
Live entertainment will come fromK8, PaulSko, Jamie Anzalone fromCounty Lines, Dymond Cutter andRockology Academy students.
Asilent auction of showmemorabilia will take place throughout the night and includes signed posters from the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, FrankieValli, Theresa Caputo, JohnnyMathis, the Beach Boys and Alice Cooper.
“In addition to having a larger event in terms of vendors, we have a larger number of autographed items available for auction,” Beekman noted. “Most of the performerswho have been at the Kirby Center since last year signed something for us to auction.”
To further support the local arts scene, a handful of artists will display their artwork during the event, including Brittany Boote, Naomi Martin and Tom Martin, with others to be announced.
“I think it’s a win- win- win,” Beekman said. “We get to showcase all of the great local talent, great local restaurants and great local wineries and brewerieswhile also helping to underwrite our children’s educational programs, especially in a timewhen all of these art and music classes are being cut from our schools.”