Herberger Theater’s Festival of the Arts returns for eighth year

The Herberger Theater's Festival of the Arts on Saturday featured performing arts, visual art, cuisine, children’s activities and pet adoptions. (Sara Edwards/DD)

Music, food and dance flooded the streets at the Herberger Theater Center on Saturday for the eighth annual Festival of the Arts. The festival was filled with music and performances from five stages that featured groups from the Arizona Opera to Fushicho Daiko Dojo Japanese drumming group.

“It’s really to get people in the community a sample of all the arts,” said Laurene Austin, the Herberger’s director of development and marketing. “We have performing arts, visual art, cuisine, children’s activities and pet adoptions all under one roof.”

Vendors lined the street selling different foods, crafts and clothing. Smells of Cornish Pasty and freshly-made chocolate filled the air as people walked up and down the vendor booths, lined with handmade crafts like cat-shaped mugs and candles.

“I love the culture of the Herberger Theater,” said Jennifer Brookins, a member of Young Living Essential Oils. This is her second year as a vendor for the festival.

“It’s just a fun event that I look forward to every year,” Brookins said. It has tons of cultural diversity. It has tons of things for kids and adults alike. It’s just a fun afternoon.”

The Festival of the Arts started in 2010 as the grand opening for the Herberger after the theater underwent a large renovation.

“We’d been talking about doing a festival for a long time and thought what a perfect opportunity really to get people to an idea of what you can get here at the Herberger Theater, and that it really doesn’t matter your age or ethnicity, (or) anything,” Austin said. “We want people to know that the arts are for everyone.”

While the festival gave downtown Phoenix a look into upcoming events and programs being held at the Herberger, this event was also held to expose both kids and adults to the beauty of the arts.

“The arts aren’t as big a part of the curriculum in schools anymore so we’re doing whatever we can to get the arts out to kids at an early age,” Austin said. “It’s amazing to see the kids that come in that experience the live arts for the first time.”

It was Phoenix resident Rachael Eidson’s first time going to the festival. Eidson attended not only to enjoy the vendors and activities, but to also support her best friend, who has been doing aerials for a short time.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to come and watch her and some of the other art performances going on,” Eidson said.

For information on the Festival of the Arts or about the upcoming events at the Herberger, go to herbergertheater.org.

Contact the reporter at smedwar7@asu.edu.