Optimist Youth Festival this weekend
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- According to Tom Majerek, chairperson of this year's Niles Optimist Youth Festival, the upcoming weekend isn't just for mothers.
Also this weekend, and kicking off Friday at 5 p.m., is the second annual two-day Niles Optimist Youth Festival.
Held at the Niles Riverfront Park Amphitheater, Majerek said it will give children a chance to perform on a bigger stage than usual.
He said most children usually just perform at school or in front of their parents, but with a venue the size of the amphitheater, they can really get a feel for how it is to be on a "big" stage.
The festival is for children and by children, and the entertainment is aimed at them, with acts ranging from rock bands, dance groups, solo artists, puppets, school bands and choirs and church groups, Majerek said.
He is expecting a good crowd for this year's festival but as always the audience depends on the weather, he said.
Friday night's events start at 5 p.m., with the Ring Lardner School Band and a Voices Unlimited concert.
The Blossomtime Queen's reception will follow the two opening acts, Majerek said.
He said St. Mary's Elementary School will also have a show Friday, and there will be a performance by "Dance Plus!"
Friday evening will end with a local rock concert from local youth band "Bora," expected to end sometime after 9:00 p.m., he said.
On Saturday, events start at 11:30 a.m., and are expected to last until after 9:00 p.m. in the evening.
Acts performing Saturday are: The Howard Elementary School Show; a Michiana Christian Embassy church youth group; the Junior Optimist Varsity Show; local singers Aaron Hall, April Webber Music students from "The Music Room," as well as Ballard Elementary School Choir .
Majerek, however, said there have been a few changes in the program from what was originally planned.
He said on Friday night, Double-B, a rapper from Clay with a positive message will add to the program.
Niles High School cheerleaders won't perform on Saturday, as originally planned, and the Southwest Michigan College jazz band will perform at 6 p.m., instead of 7 p.m. Saturday is rounded off with a public Karaoke where everyone is invited. Majerek said the Junior Optimist club will have a concession stand serving snacks and beverages throughout the festival.
He is excited about once again having the festival at the amphitheater.
Majerek said the Optimist Club consists of 75 members who meet weekly to plan youth events in Niles. In the past the club has sponsored many sports events.
He said anyone wanting to enjoy a great day of entertainment in the park are welcome.