A Wildfire of a festival this weekend

Wildfire Arts Street Festival gearing up for Saturday

By Robin Ferruggia
The Surveyor

The Wildfire tap dance troupe, Tap Roots, will perform at this year’s Wildfire Street Dance Festival scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 13. The festival will be in the street directly in front of Wildfire Arts Center, located at 425 Massachusetts Ave. in Berthoud.  The Surveyor

The Wildfire tap dance troupe, Tap Roots, will perform at this year’s Wildfire Street Dance Festival scheduled for this Saturday, Sept. 13. The festival will be in the street directly in front of Wildfire Arts Center, located at 425 Massachusetts Ave. in Berthoud.
The Surveyor

The streets of Berthoud will come alive on Saturday, Sept. 13 with the annual Wildfire Arts Street Festival from 6 to 10 p.m. in the street directly in front of the Wildfire Arts Center at 425 Massachusetts Ave in Berthoud.

The group will provide dance demonstrations of Hawaiian hula and tap dancing from 6 to 7 p.m.

Entertainment includes live music by Blake and Groves from 7 to 10 p.m. Keith Hancock will play piano during breaks to show off the newly decorated piano that Wildfire will find a home for in a public place for the coming year.  Sponsors for the piano are being sought.

A variety of food will be available. The Giggling Greek and Road Grill food truck will serve Greek food, pulled pork, ribs, wraps and burger. Da Bean will have iced coffee and desserts.  Kettlecorn by Keith and an ice cream truck will also be there.  Hand crafted beer from City Star Brewery and soft drinks will be available as well.

A silent auction is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Items to be auctioned include original art from local artists Sue Rupp, Pati Pelz, Grace Goodson and Charlotte Zink, jewelry, artisanal honey, soap, handmade furniture, an oriental carpet, pottery, a Lucky Duck ice fishing pole, hand forged candlesticks, gift certificates for massages, self defense classes and auto tune ups.

There will be ample opportunities for children to indulge in creative expressions of their own. A drawing table and a face-painting booth will be provided.

There will be bidding for art materials sponsors to outfit the newly repurposed art studio.  The weekly open studio for middle and high school students is expected to begin in September.  This open studio will provide a space for students to create art projects and store them in between sessions.

“People can bring their neighbors, dogs, kids, and come join in this celebration of community and support for local arts programming,” said Elizabeth Kearny, a Berthoud attorney who is one of the founders of the Center and current president of its Board of Directors.

Wildfire Arts Center started as a grassroots community group in 2002 with a mission to build community through the arts, said Kearny. She purchased a building that had been vacant for 15 years and along with two others, planned to turn it into a community arts center. Her initial aim was “selfish,” she said, as she wanted to turn it into a dance studio because her daughters wanted to take dancing lessons. But with community support, including personal and private foundation contributions, grants, and enthusiastic volunteers, the little group blossomed into a community arts center. Nationally recognized teachers were drawn to it and now provide art and dancing classes. Their tap dance program rivals that of the big studios, Kearny said, and they have a better floor than most.

Kearny and the others are looking forward to joining with the community on Saturday to celebrate creativity and the arts.

“Creativity is the focus and we don’t care if you make a mess,” she said.