Each year, for the past 21 years, thousands of people have gathered in Sherman at the Great Blue Heron festival in July for a celebration of music and camaraderie. But, in order to make the festival possible, many volunteers are needed. And, that's why Julie Rockcastle, an original founding partner, hosts a MayDay event to gather returning and potential volunteers in preparation of the festival.
This year's MayDay will be held Sunday from 1-7 p.m. on the festival grounds at 2361 Waits Corners Road in Sherman. The event will feature a live performance by The Bogarts, an Americana and roots band from Jamestown. The band will perform at 2 p.m., which is also the time when a potluck will begin. Guests will also enjoy a Maypole dance, in which dancers hold a colored ribbon to weave around a pole to the rhythm of beating drums. The pole is situated near the kids' tent, and stays up all year long.
"We particularly have the event to get potential volunteers out so that they can see the site, meet some people and hopefully sign up to help us out with the festival," said Rockcastle. "I think new volunteers usually like the property, and it's really fun for their kids to come out with them too. It helps for people to see the place when there aren't big crowds of people here. And, I think once they see all the fun people who work on the festival they just want to join us."
According to Rockcastle, the event is also a neat experience for returning volunteers because a major aspect of the Heron experience revolves around camaraderie. And, because long-time volunteer coordinator Alicia Passamonte, wife of the The Bogarts' lead singer Chris, passed away in October, a memorial will be held in her honor the night before.
"It's the perfect fit for this year's MayDay," said Rockcastle.
The 22nd annual Great Blue Heron festival is scheduled for July 5-7. For more information visit www.greatblueheron.com.
As per usual, here are the highlights and happenings going on in the area.
Comedy at JSBA Continues Friday Night: The Jamestown Savings Bank Arena is heading into its sixth week of the Wits n' Giggles: Friday Night Comedy Series. This week's edition of Wits n' Giggles will feature Tim Joyce, a Buffalo native, and Jamie Travale, another regional comedian.
The show will take place in the upstairs Arena Club from 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $8 presale and $12 the day of the show. They are available at the JSBA Box Office, 319 W. Third St. in Jamestown, by phone at 484-2624 or at jamestownarena.com.
For more information search for "Jamestown Savings Bank Arena" on Facebook or follow on Twitter.
Infinity Performing Arts To Host Instructor Concert Friday: Infinity's instructors will take the Infinity Cafe stage from 7-9 p.m. on Friday.
Featured instructors include: Amanda Barton on vocals, Kyle Gustafson on trumpet and Adam Owens doing stand-up comedy. There will also be performances by Jim Beal, Ken Larsen, Gale Svenson-Campbell, Julie Cotter, Julie Anderson, Anne Eklund, Sarah Marchitelli and Jake Swanson.
First Fridays At Five To Continue In North East: Art, music, food and shopping are scheduled for Friday from 5-8 p.m. in downtown North East.
Downtown businesses will be open late and working with local artisans to create an open-air market along Main and Lake streets, Routes 20 and 89. And, tents in Gibson Park will house entertainment and activities for the whole family. An additional tent will house artisan demonstrations including North East painter Tamara Maas.
For more information call 814-725-4262.
Theater Workshops And Performances Coming To Jamestown: Willow Bay Theater, Arts Council For Chautauqua County and Reg Lenna Civic Center have teamed up to present a series of theater workshops for the continuation of education in theater arts. Geared toward actors from their teens through adulthood, the workshops will help participants develop characters through movement, voice, action and song.
The series opens Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Reg Studio Theater with "Physical Characterization," which admission to is $35. Elmira College's John Kelly will present this hour-long workshop intended to supplement traditional actor training. This hands-on experience seeks to employ concepts of Asian theatre, the work of Michael Chekhov, and the use of body centers to introduce participants to other tools employed by performers in their craft. A one-hour Q&A session will follow. The Reg Studio Theater is located at 108 E. Third St. in Jamestown.
For registration and complete descriptions of the series visit www.artscouncil.com or call 664-2465, ext. 227.
Opera House Fundraiser Gala Is Saturday: The 1891 Fredonia Opera House will hold its annual fundraiser gala at 5 p.m. Saturday at Shorewood Country Club.
A live auction to be held as part of event will feature three unique celebrity memorabilia items - an electric guitar autographed by all the members of the rock band Three Dog Night, a sequined jacket owned and worn by dance legend Ginger Rogers and a faux fur owned and worn by Hollywood actress Shelley Winters. Those unable to attend the event but wishing to bid on one of the three celebrity items can contact executive director Rick Davis at 679-0891 for information.
The event is open to the public. Tickets are $55 per person and are available by contacting the Opera House Box Office at 679-1891 or by visiting www.fredopera.org.
Babes Of Wrath To Start Roller Derby Season Saturday: The Babes of Wrath will begin the roller derby season with an event called "May the 4th Be With You!"
The Babes will battle the Niagara Roller Girls, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be held at the Allen Park Ice Rink, 200 Elizabeth Ave. in Jamestown.
$8 pre-sale tickets are available at Labyrinth Press Company, 12 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown, Sharp's Russell Roller Rink, 7385 Market St. in Russell, Pa., or from a derby girl. $10 tickets will be available at the door. Admission is free for kids 12 and under.
For more information visit www.babesofwrath.com or search for "Chautauqua County Roller Derby" on Facebook.
Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony Spring Gala Is Sunday: The senior performing orchestra of the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony will host a Spring Gala Concert on Sunday at 4 p.m. in downtown Jamestown's Reg Lenna Civic Center.
The performance will feature musicians ages 13 through college. It will also include performances by Prelude Strings, the beginning string musicians, and the Young Artists Orchestra of intermediate instrumental students.
Guest artists Evelyn Loehrlein, principal flutist with the Huntsville, Ala. Symphony Orchestra, and Sidney King, instructor of double bass at the University of Louisville School of Music, will be featured.
Included on the program will be "Poem for Flute and Orchestra" by Charles T. Griffes, "Marche Militaire Francaise" from the "Algerian Suite" by Camille Saint-Saens, Tchaikowsky's "Sleeping Beauty Waltz," "Adagio" from Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, Leroy Anderson's "Blue Tango," and "Duende al Rojo! (Buleria") by guest artist Sidney King.
A reception will be held on the mezzanine of the theatre following the performance.
Tickets, which are $12 for general admission and $8 for students, are available at the Reg Lenna Civic Center box office, 116 E. Third St., by calling 484-7070 or by visiting www.reglenna.com.
For more information about the Chautauqua Regional Youth Symphony visit www.CRYouthSymphony.com.
To include an upcoming show or event in this column, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1111 ext. 253 by Monday.
Blue Grass Jam: 7-10 p.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron. Area bluegrass musicians are welcome to sit in and play.
Karaoke Contest Qualifying Round: 8 p.m., Murdock's, 104 E. Main St. in Sherman.
Coyote: 8 p.m. to midnight, Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.
Brian Chase: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Peek'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Haybalers: 8 p.m., Pine Junction, 9757 Bailey Hill Road in Sherman.
Bluze Inn: 8 p.m. to midnight, Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.
M-80s: 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Celoron Legion, 26 Jackson Ave. in Celoron.
Cup Of Soup: 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Peek'n Peak, 1405 Olde Road in Findley Lake.
Robert "Freightrain" Parker: 4-8 p.m., Casino Bar, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd. in Salamanca.
To The Sky: 7 p.m., Coduit, 20 Delaware Ave. in Jamestown.
To The Sky: 7 p.m., Zion Covenant Church, 520 Fairmount Ave. in Jamestown.