Chil­dren’s pro­grams to gain from Kirby Fest

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - News - BY CHAR­LOTTE L. JA­COB­SON STAFF WRITER cja­cob­son@ cit­i­zensvoice. com; 570- 821- 2061

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.”

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