Get ready for an art-full August

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The Arts Council of Algoma and Fringe North International Theatre Festival are joining forces to bring Sault Ste. Marie 11 days of fun, entertainment and creativity.

The Arts Council will stage a bundle of new and established events in collaboration with the second annual Fringe Festival August 9-19.

Fringe took root in the Sault last August, presenting high-calibre and often edgy theatre, busking, art, music and an ambitious Kids Fringe program. It’s building on that success in collaboration with the Arts Council.

“It will be an arts multi-fest, designed to entertain audiences of all ages, benefit artists and be accessible to all,” said Fringe general manager Peter Rowe.

All events are low-cost or free and many aim to provide family fun.

Artworks will be created and installed almost everywhere in the city’s downtown, thanks to an art crawl, art battle, Art N’ the Park and a graffiti wall.

The Art Crawl takes place throughout the festival, Aug. 9-19. Various locations downtown will provide space for local artists to show their work. Pick up a map from the Arts Council of Algoma and tour around the city.

In the Art Battle, Aug. 9, artists compete in the streets in a friendly painting contest with a 20-minute time limit. The winner is chosen by public vote.

Art N’ the Park returns Aug. 11-12. This year local artists will make and sell their work to festival visitors at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion.

Graffiti artists get their turn Aug. 18 at the Graffiti Wall. Participants paint panels that will be displayed throughout the city. Again, a public vote chooses the winning design.

The Arts Council also will host a Singer/Songwriter Stage at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion Aug. 10-12 and Aug. 16-19. Enjoy live music by local talent from country to punk.

Youth Odena returns Aug. 18, creating free fun for kids of all ages. The highlight, hugely popular last summer, is building and painting a giant fort using cardboard boxes.

New to Fringe this year is the Northern Ontario Book Fair, Aug. 10-12 at Roberta Bondar Pavilion. Silverleaf Writers Guild, which staged the inaugural event in Timmins last summer, is bringing it to the Sault.

Books by Northern Ontario authors in all genres will be sold, with authors keeping the “vast majority” of profits, said Silverleaf regional director Jessica Trudel.

“A select few authors will be invited to attend in person and represent Northern Ontario literature,” she said. Deadline to apply is April 30.

April 30 is also the closing date for artist registration for the non-profit Fringe North festival. Storytellers, actors, theatre creators, playwrights, poets, street performers, buskers and musicians will be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis.

Fringe and the Arts Council worked together to stage the very successful Minnikaan Project at White Pines Collegiate in January. An indigenous art exhibit was paired with a theatre performance about residential schools, Debwewin, by Sarah Gartshore, which will return in January 2019.

But first, get an early taste of fringing on May 5 at the Flip Into Fringe Variety Show at the Water Tower Inn, headlined by The Comedics, the Sault’s popular musical medical satirists.

It features surprising, astounding and sometimes downright shocking performances by jugglers, musicians, illusionists, spoken word and more.

Tickets are available at the Arts Council and Downtown Association offices, Shabby Motley Handcraft, Hilltribe and Mane Street Salon and Spa.