Summer Heat Up with Citywide Festivals

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From the third issue of the Gotham Times:

Gotham City is gearing up for a spate of summer festivals that promises to provide entertainment to residents looking for good food, loud music, local art, and fun in teh sun

We've really worked hard to create a wide array of free offerings that every Gotham citizen can enjoy," said parks planner Rebecca Wondermin.

The Gotham Department of Parks and Recreation has been working with law enforcement to ensure that the festivals are not ruined by the kind of violence which shattered the Djepelgesh Festival earlier in the year.

"Public safety is our first priority, and we believe that these festivals will be a secure, fun place for our families to enjoy the summer," said Wondermin.

The annual Gotham Jazz Festival kicks off the busy schedule of arts and music fairs with a performance by legendary trumpeter Horace "Steamboat" Biggins at Yeavely Park Bandshell on July 2. The two-week long free festival continues with over 100 acts from the world of jazz covering all flavors of the music, from traditional Dixieland to bop.

Speculation that the longstanding festival would be cancelled due to dissension among the Park's Department jazz fest committee has proven untrue. Elements of the committee objected to "water down" the festival with the inclusion of easy-listening acts. The Mayor was forced to step in, and a compromise was reached to allow one smooth-jazz group to perform every day of the festival.

Local neighborhoods throughout Gotham will also have their share of the limelight. The first neighborhood festival to get underway is the Palisades Flower and Garden Walk on July 15. The upscale neighborhood's longstanding tradition of opening its homes and gardens for viewing by every citizen is expected to draw thousands of curious residents.

Many of Gotham's finest homes will swing open their front and backyards to showcase lush landscaping and colorful flowerbeds.

"We love sharing our beautiful gardens with the average Joe who normally would never have the chance to experience such beauty," said Walk commissioner Edna Maplethorn. The walk covers nearly 10 blocks and also features local flavors and musical entertainment from the area's many restaurants and performers.

The next local festival to get underway is the popular Bridge Avenue ARt Arts and Crafts Fair in the bohemian enclave south of the Gotham River between 30th and 36th Streets. Neighborhood artists have been showing their work every year on this weekend since 1968. The colorful cast of performance artists, counter-cultural radicals, soap-box philosophers and paint salesmen draws many families from across the greater Gotham metro area.

Book lovers have their own festival to look forward to. For over 70 years in the third weekend of August, Gotham's literati have congregated in Jerold for the Antiquarian Book Fair. Collectors, sellers, educators and browsers gather to buy, sell, and trade books, as well as participate in group discussions led by famous authors.

Those not feeling bookish can take the Gotham City Rail to South Hinkley, where the first annual South Side Carnival is taking place over the same weekend. Described by carnival planner Deke Cowden "as a taste of country life in the city," the carnival is a "microcosm of a County Fair planted right in the heart of the urban experience," said Cowden. Visitors can expect rides from Gotham's legendary Hyams Amusements, games, food and a competition featuring Gotham's dogs and cats.

The summer traditionally concludes with the Gotham Food Fair in South City Park, and this year is no exception. Venerable rock band The Wilting Flowers opens the festival with a free concert the first weekend of September. For nine days, festivalgoers can sample food from over 300 Gotham restaurants and soak in music from internationally known bands and local favorites.

The nine-day event ends with the Gotham Pops Symphony accompanying "the biggest fireworks show we've ever put on," according to longtime Food Fair planner Augusto Loprarioan. "After all the city's been through, we really wanted to do up a big event this year for everyone to enjoy."

Gotham has always sponsored many summer activities, but this season promises to be one of the busiest. For more information, pick up a free copy of The Times' "Guide to Summer Festivals" located in supermarkets around the city.

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