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story.lead_photo.caption Jen Green holds up daughter Lilly, 1, to drop discs in a game set up at Sunday's Porchfest along Capitol Avenue. Photo by Gerry Tritz / News Tribune.

Porchfest JCMO returned to Capitol Avenue on Sunday for the first time since the 2019 tornado with various performers, activities and foods.

The free event featured about 30 artists and performers on 13 porches in the 500-700 blocks of Capitol Avenue from 1-4 p.m. The event was held virtually twice last year due to the pandemic.

Jefferson City residents got to see some types of performance they don't normally see.

One of the highlights was Dakotah Williamson, who goes by Storyteller. The loud, energetic spoken-word artist worked the crowd like a street preacher, entertaining with his performances.

He's been performing his special brand of poetry/hip hop since 2008.

"I get really loud and I say things to people that they don't necessarily want to say out loud, but they feel it inside," he said in an interview before his performance. "And I'm OK with saying it out loud and being open about it. I talk about things that are true. I talk about living in the streets, I talk about drugs, I talk about the demons that are within all of us. I speak about missed opportunities, failed attempts."

He said he was hit hard by the loss of his father when he was about 12. His persona, Storyteller, "scooped me off the ground when I had nobody," he said. "I feel like whenever you see me perform, I'm not Dakotah Williamson anymore. It's like I have to do it."

One of Storyteller's fans on Sunday was Christie Malone, who attended with her 8-year-old daughter, Penn.

"I think he's great," she said. "I've known him for years. His use of words, it just hits you. It hits home with you."

She said Porchfest is "a wonderful event for the community."

Another unusual performance was a sound bath, intended to be a meditative performance that "bathes" its listeners in sound waves. Several performers took turns performing with singing bowls and a gong.

The Spicy Lazer Twins was a funny duo that entertained by dressing in costumes and playing bluegrass music.

Children at the event seemed to enjoy the tie-dye station, where they wrapped up white T-shirts and squirted the different segmented areas of the shirts with various dyes.

The food stands also were a hit. At RJs Real Italian ice, there was often a wait for the cold, sweet treats as temperatures climbed into the lower 90s.

"With Capitol Avenue, we're constantly trying to fill the streets, it's so big," said Leann Porrello, the cultural arts specialist with the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. "So every time we've come out, we're growing and growing and growing and seeing what people want."

Last time the department got feedback asking for more adult activities, so it created an adult version of a graffiti booth. Instead of children's paints, adults used spray cans to create graffiti.

Roberta Dunkel said she loves Porchfest and has been every year with the exception of last year since it was only held virtually.

"I'm a retired art teacher and an artist myself," she said. "I think it's an energizing thing for Jefferson City to be doing right now. It's much needed."

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