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Porchfest returns to Forest Hill neighborhood

by Molly Morris | September 30, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Gerry Tritz/News Tribune Jen Green holds up daughter Lilly, 1 1/2, to drop discs in a game set up at the June 2021 Porchfest along Capitol Avenue.

Two years later, the Forest Hill Avenue porches will once again come to life with music, visual arts and lots of family activities.

The third fall edition of Porchfest is on tap Sunday in the neighborhood -- it was held virtually in 2020, and the inaugural event in 2019 was also held in Forest Hill.

Sunday's free event runs 1-4 p.m.

"Forest Hill, because they had supported us before and kind of knew the layout of the event, they were so gracious to host us again, especially coming out of a pandemic, for that comfortability -- easy for the organizers and easy for the neighborhood," said Leann Porrello, the cultural arts specialist with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. "It was just a perfect little marriage to go back to Forest Hill."

Held twice a year -- in the spring along Capitol Avenue and in the fall at different neighborhoods each year -- Porchfest turns porches into stages for musicians and visual artists, and the street packs with crafts, yard games and food vendors.

Unlike the spring event along Capitol Avenue, which is spread over three blocks, this weekend's event in the Forest Hill neighborhood features 11 porches in a much more compact space. But don't let the smaller location fool you, Porrello said: there are just as many, if not more, activities.

"It's more personal, intimate; it's not as spread out, so we feel like the engagement from the community at the fall Porchfest is much higher because of the layout of the street," she said.

Also different in the latter half of the year, the Forest Hill porches are residential, compared to the businesses that open their porches on Capitol Avenue.

"With residential, the homeowners get really into it; they're just as much a part of the festival as anyone else," Porrello said, adding homeowners are known to decorate the outside of their homes and provide seating for the event, something not always possible outside a Capitol Avenue business that's likely closed on a Sunday.

In addition to plenty of live music, other highlights of the event, she said, are a Porchfest rock garden set up by JC Rocks featuring painted rocks people can add or take away; painting with your dog sponsored by Art 101 on Boonville; a graffiti community art project; and a "tree glam," where attendees can decorate a tree with glass beads that will reflect the sunlight.

Old favorites like chalk art, a tie dye station and a variety of craft projects will also be available.

And don't forget about the food.

Vendors include: Love My Gelato, Pizza Kwick Food Truck, Alibi Cookies, Fresh Lemonade Co., RJ's Real Italian Ice and the JC Parks/Jefferson City Special Populations Program concessions trailer.

While it's a free event, Porrello said attendees should bring cash to tip the artists who are volunteering their time and talents.

"We want to take care of them because we wouldn't have a Porchfest without our artists," she said.

Can't get enough music and outdoor festival fun? Just a block away at Memorial Park is the MO Blues Association's Blues in the Park fundraiser to raise money to support blues music programs in schools.

"When we looked at our calendar and saw the blues festival going on the same time, we were excited because one thing about art in this community is we all want to support each other," Porrello said, adding the Porchfest organizers were in communication with MO Blues to ensure the two events compliment each other.

She encouraged attendees to park near Memorial Park and walk between the two events for a packed afternoon celebrating Mid-Missouri cultural arts.

For more information and a complete schedule of events and performers by porch, visit the the Porchfest JCMO Facebook page.

Print Headline: Porchfest returns to Forest Hill neighborhood


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