AN OCCASION FOR THE ARTS, AN ANNUAL ARTS AND MUSIC FESTIVAL, COMMEMORATES 51TH ANNIVERSARY WITH OCTOBER EVENT IN WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA
An Occasion for the Arts (AOFTA), an annual fine art and music festival, will mark its 51st year when this year’s event takes place Oct. 5 and 6, 2019 in historic Williamsburg, Va.
This highly anticipated weekend provides an inspiring celebration of visual and performing arts in and beyond Merchants Square of Colonial Williamsburg. The juried art show brings the work of talented fine artists, local youth artists, and lively performing artists together for an event that offers something for everyone to enjoy. Live performances are held both days on two stages, and the popular food court provides a culinary taste of fall. AOFTA is a free, volunteer-run festival.
This year, AOFTA is hosting a new event called ROCK the Occasion on October 5 from 6:30 until 9:30 p.m. ROCK the Occasion is free and will feature local blues and rock band Billy Joe Trio, as well as local craft beers, wine, and food from Two Drummers Smokehouse (available for purchase). Everyone is invited to join in the artistic fun by painting a ‘Kindness Rock’ to leave in a favorite spot during the event.
This year’s weekend includes artists from virtually all media, including drawing, glass, printmaking, jewelry, fiber, metal, photography and more. Over 140 artists will participate from all across the country, bringing the beauty and craftsmanship of their work to Williamsburg for this special weekend.
Live performances take place each day and are free and open to the public. Performances range from guitar and folk, acapella, Celtic, jazz, dance, puppetry and period music.
Youth art is displayed in an over 2,500 square foot tent on Prince George Street with youth art activities, music and family friendly food available nearby. New this year to the Youth Art area is the opportunity to take part in a special community art project with the Muscarelle Museum of Art.
Additionally, the William & Mary Student & Faculty Art Show will be up during the weeks leading up to AOFTA and throughout the weekend. Works from senior Studio Art majors and faculty of the Department of Art & Art History will be displayed in the South Henry Street shops.
The Williamsburg Book Festival is in its 8th year and takes place Oct. 5 at the Stryker Center (412 N. Boundary Street), when authors and editors from four publishing companies will discuss their work and talk with the audience. Authors will represent poetry, fiction and narrative nonfiction. For more information, visit the event’s website.
A variety of culinary offerings from local restaurants will be provided to enjoy throughout the festival.
An Occasion for the Arts is free and open to the public. It takes place in Merchants Square in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg and other venues as listed in the event program.
The festival begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 5:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Parking is plentiful, and there are many available lots in and around Merchants Square:
- Prince George Street Parking Garage, 230 N Henry St, Williamsburg 23185
- Public parking, 306 S Henry St, Williamsburg 23185
- Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center, 101 Visitor Center Dr, Williamsburg. There is a $2 shuttle from the Visitor Center to AOFTA.
WEB AND SOCIAL
The Festival Guide and printable map, as well as a schedule to sync to mobile devices, is available at www.aofta.org. Stay up to date on social media by visiting occasionforthearts on Instagram and An Occasion for the Arts on Facebook.
Volunteers make this weekend possible and are needed for check-in, carrying artwork, setting up tents, answering questions, bringing lunches and manning the booths so the artists can have a break. Individual volunteers or teams from churches, businesses and organizations are welcome. Visit aofta.org/volunteer for more information.
AOFTA is made possible through the generosity of sponsors, including Bank of America (Presenting Sponsor), Wells Fargo Advisors (Youth Art Sponsor), as well as many other organizations and individuals.
An Occasion for the Arts was founded in 1969 to provide Williamsburg with an arts extravaganza. Since then it has grown to become the area’s premier art and music festival. More information is available at www.aofta.org.