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Art-er Limits brings Fringe to the forefront

The Art-er Limits Fringe Festival will return next week for the fifth year in a row.

The festival will feature art, music and interactive activities suitable for all ages. A partnership of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Cathead Vodka, Mississippi Arts Commission, Visit Mississippi and SouthArts, the festival will take place from Aug. 9 through 12.

According to YAC director Wayne Andrews, the goal of the festival is to showcase the best of Mississippi.

“Our goal was to create something that would showcase the wide range of talents in Mississippi.  All the artists have links to our state,” Andrews said in a recent news release. “The festival offers a sample of dance, music, visual and performing arts, but instead of being passive, it is designed to engage kids, teens, adults and seniors in a shared atmosphere.”

The festival will kick off on Aug. 9 with the Iron Bartender competition, which will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Powerhouse. In the style of popular TV show “Iron Chef,” the competition will challenge bartenders to create a signature cocktail once the secret spirit is revealed.  

Bartenders from across Mississippi will go jigger-for-jigger this year for a chance to win the cocktail crown. Returning champions from Snackbar and McEwen’s will face challengers from restaurants in Tupelo, Oxford and Starkville including Jinsei, Nautical Whimsey, Saint Leo, Stella, Green Roof Lounge, Grit, Oxford Grillehouse, Woody’s, O’Charley’s and Restaurant Tyler in Starkville.

“This event reminds us that expressions of creativity and artistry take many shapes and forms,” Andrews said. “The cocktail mixes history, region, culinary and culture all in a glass. It also has the unique attribute of bringing people together.”

Other events that have become mainstays for the fringe festival will return, including Secret Show and Food Truck Fight. Secret Show is, as its name implies, a secret. The performer and location of the show will not be revealed until the day of the event, and it will take place on Aug. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. Food Truck Fight will close out the festival on Aug. 12 at the Old Armory Pavilion from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will include a variety of live music as well as treats from local food trucks.

New experiences include Project(ion), where artists will illuminate the walls of the Uptown Coffee breezeway with interactive videos. Another new offering for festival-goers will come in the form of local actor Charlie Davis, who will present an audience-driven, one-man rendition of “Forrest Gump” on Aug. 10 at the Powerhouse at 7 p.m.

Special Features Improv, a group based in New Orleans, will follow Davis in the festival lineup with a performance of two “movies” with audience input on Aug. 10 at 8:30 p.m.

Having a variety of events, workshops and experiences is something Andrews said distinguishes the Art-er Limits Fringe Festival from the crowd.

“Artists create mini events. Every 50 minutes is a different experience, with most of them being interactive,” Andrews said in a recent news release. “[For example,] you might learn a dance move from professional dance and then join the dance company on stage as part of the performance.”

For more information on the 2018 Art-er Limits Fringe Festival, visit http://oxfordfringefest.com.