NORTH ADAMS -- Don’t be surprised if you see a man walking on stilts, a woman performing a balancing act, or throngs of people painting a giant optical illusion on the road next Wednesday -- it will all be part of the city’s 17th annual Downtown Celebration.
"There’s going to be a circus-type theme going on," Veronica Bosley, the city’s director of tourism and community events said Wednesday.
"I was inspired by the circus performers that Mass MoCA brought to the celebration last year."
She said in addition to hiring several street performers, which include a juggling stilt walker and a woman who does a balancing act, the street fair naturally lends itself to the theme, as food venders already serve up some items associated with the circus and carnival, including cotton candy and fried dough.
The annual event, which began in 1996 as a celebration of the completion of the downtown’s first phase of street beautification projects, will take place Wednesday, Aug. 15, running from 5:30 to 9 p.m. In the event of rain, the celebration will be held Thursday.
"We also have a lot of local restaurants involved this year, such as Pedrin’s and Boston Seafood, as well as a lot of the downtown restaurants," Bosley said. "People will have lot of food, games and shopping options this year."
Some new additions to the street festival include local crafters who will sell their hand-made items,
"We also have performances throughout the night, including Champagne Jam, Misguided and One Way Out, which is [Eagle Street Music on Main owner] Matt Berger’s band. We also have performances by two country line dance groups, Berkshire Dance Theatre, J Star Gymnastics and Zumba in the Berkshires. We’ll also have all of the DownStreet Art galleries open and a lot of community groups and organizations showcasing their local talent."
Art About Town, the local arts organization that spent the last few years painting city crosswalks with colorful designs, is returning this year with another public art project on Holden Street.
In 2010, the group debuted its public art projects at the Downtown Celebration with a public street painting based on the work of Henri Matisse. This year the group will ask the public to help it create a 2,000-square-foot work of "Op Art" -- short for "optical illusion" -- using vivid colors in temporary non-toxic paint donated by Cascade School Supplies.
Volunteers will sketch out the artwork on the road in chalk and the public is invited to help paint the pattern from 5 to 8 p.m. Participants must be at least five years old and are encouraged to wear shoes and clothing they won’t mind getting paint on.
To reach Jennifer Huberdeau, email firstname.lastname@example.org.