Thursday, May 21, 2009

Art and music take center stage BY STEPHANIE LODER •Asbury Park Press- STAFF WRITER • May 18, 2009

TOMS RIVER — The sky was a canvas of blue, gold and gray for the Arts & Music Festival Saturday.

"With all the rain we've been having, we almost went somewhere else," said artist Lori Tabermind of New Hope as she walked through Huddy Park, listening to music and watching dance.

Hundreds of people enjoyed art of all kinds and watched artists in action during the newest attraction of Downtown Toms River.

The multivenue, multiart event began at noon and continued until 9 p.m.

The Arts & Music Festival took center stage, offering a juried art show, free live musical entertainment and dance.

Tents with artwork filled Huddy Park under a brilliant sunny sky that at times became overcast. The threat of rain didn't deter visitors.

"Mom, can I have a portrait for my wall," asked art student Seth Meyers, 14, of Toms River. "I think everyone here is so diverse and talented."

The art ranged from pastels and paints to pencil and pen. There was interpretive dance and the comedy and music of The Bill & Ron Show.

"It's something for everyone," said Alice Kneble of Toms River as she crossed the street at Huddy Park. "Now we're going to check out the gallery at the library, and I know we won't be disappointed."

Rosemarie Sprouts traveled from Sweetwater to be featured. Portraits and other scenes were perfectly showcased by the sun with the backdrop of her white tent.

"It's a good show and a great opportunity to be here," she said.

Enhancing Downtown Toms River's position as a cultural center of Ocean County is one of the major initiatives in the master plan for the downtown.

The Arts & Music Festival is among several special events throughout the year produced by Downtown Toms River — officially the Toms River Business Improvement District.

The nonprofit organization was created to encourage economic revitalization and attract area residents to the historic business district.

The next Downtown Toms River event is the 20th Annual New Jersey State Chili and Salsa Cook-Off on May 30.

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