June 22 2011 12:00 AM

Old Towns annual Festival of the Moon and Festival of the Sun have their own special vibes


The Festival of the Sun and Festival of the Moon is all about getting outside in Old Town while enjoying fine wine, cuisine, cold craft-brewed beer and music.

Now in its 12th year, the two-day festival set for Friday and Saturday supports the Old Town Commercial Association. According to its executive director, Brittney Hoszkiw, festival revenue makes up 70 percent of the associations budget. 

The festivals are located in Parking Lot 56 and Burchard Park on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Turner Street in Old Town. Musical guests include Locksley, a national power-pop band that’s toured with rockers like Rooney and The Hives. An assortment of other folk, jazz and rock bands will also perform.

“These two events allow us to continue our organization (and) continue our programming year round,” Hoszkiw said. “We produce a lot of events, all with very different missions for the community and the organization — things like business recruitment, business counseling, neighborhood beautification, banners and baskets, all the flowers, even the trash removal.

“We also do all the marketing material and advertising you see about Old Town, all the things that are going on regularly in the neighborhood — these two events finance that.” 

Last year the two fests brought out 7,000 people to Old Town, Hoszkiw said.

A new attraction is the Pairing Tent. Three wines will be paired with a sample-sized three-course meal in an intimate bar-style setting. Tickets for entry into the festival and access to one pairing session are $40. These new additions, along with other happenings like mixology demos, are all efforts to attract more patrons.  

“It introduces thousands of people to Old Town every year,” Hoszkiw said.

“We know that about 50 percent of the people who come to the festival are from outside Ingham County, and so hopefully, they’re people who came to Old Town years ago and are being reintroduced to the boutique artistic district that we are today. Or they’re people who are just visiting Lansing for the first time and are being able to celebrate a great event and a great district.”  

So what separates Fridays Festival of the Moon from Saturdays Festival of the Sun? Hoszkiw said the two have different vibes.

“Festival of the Moon is very high-energy and is a really exciting event with the national acts coming into Old Town,” Hoszkiw explained. “Festival of the Sun is a daytime event that’s definitely more relaxed, and people have the opportunity to just kind of enjoy a nice summer day. While all of this is going on, we also have Old Town Scrap Fest, which is just now in its third year.” 

Old Town Scrap Fest is a scrap-art competition in which 18 teams of artists have an hour to collect up to 500 pounds of scrap out of Friedland Industries’ scrapyard in Old Town.

The teams then have two weeks to build a sculpture or functional art piece. Those pieces are displayed, judged and auctioned off at the fests. The winners will be announced during Festival of the Sun at 6 p.m. Saturday.

David Such, organizer of Scrap Fest, said these pieces are definitely not hunks of junk.

“There’s a public silent auction so when people are looking at the sculptures they are able to register at the event to bid on the pieces,” Such said.

“These pieces are going to be crazy good this year and last year the average price for a sculpture was a few hundred bucks — they are done by some really good artists. I mean, this isn’t just scrap crap, it’s really nice stuff. That’s how Friedland got involved with us because they want to shine a light on responsible management of material and scrap is a cool way to do that.” 

Such is also an Old Town business owner. His company, Such Video, is a television and film production company that’s been in Old Town for over a decade. He said his company somehow fits in seamlessly with neighboring places like graphic art agencies, a law office, ad agencies, art galleries and restaurants.

“Since I’ve moved to Old Town from Okemos I’ve made some of my best friends. There’s a real sense of community down here,” Such said. “I haven’t been in a lot of places where you have businesses that are so diverse. You’d be surprised at just how interwoven this whole group of people is down here, and how well they know each other. I’ve not been in an area like this in business or personal life where there’s been such a tight community.”

Festival of the Moon
6-11 p.m. Friday, June 24
Turner Street and Grand River Avenue in Old Town
$10 advance; $15 door (21 and over)
Performers include Locksley, Ben Keeler & the 500 Club and Finding Clyde.

Festival of the Sun

2-11 p.m. Saturday, June 25
$17 advance; $20 door (21 and over after 7 p.m.)
Performers include Wisaal, Elevator Conspiracy, Tania Hayward, Hot Club of Lansing, Jeff Pianki, Sunny Side Up, Summer of Sol, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, Tree Hut Kings, Billiards Music.
Tickets for both festivals are $25, available online and at the gate