Summer Solstice Fest brings art and music to Azilum français | Local/Regional

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ASYLUM — The Susquehanna Summer Solstice Festival continued its celebration Saturday with a variety of activities including music, art and speakers delivering presentations at the French historic site of Azilum.

People gathered at the site pavilion to hear multiple musical performances throughout the day. Musicians included Jay Smar NEPA Folk and Coal Mine Music; alternative rock band Cousin Auntie’s Ghost; Lindsay Van Gordon and Dallas Carter Band, and MAQ Combo, who performed classical jazz and Brazilian music.

Dance classes were also on the program of the event. Local historian Deborah Courville taught attendees how to perform historic 18th century dances, while event organizer Brian Keeler taught Balboa swing dancing.

Presentations at French Azilum were made by various speakers, including historians and environmentalists. On Saturday morning, a canoe trip on the Susquehanna River was offered for anyone wishing to explore nature.

“An important part of this festival is the environmental aspect of it,” Keeler said. “Our mission is to express the beauty of this region and how the environment should be protected.”

Keeler hopes to turn the festival into an annual event in the near future. He also said that art and historical preservation are the main features of the festival. There were 19 artists who took part in the festival’s plein air painting competition, in which they painted outdoors.

“A lot of us paint historical monuments in Wyalusing and Towanda,” he said. “We want people to know that this area has a wonderful history that deserves to be represented in art.”

Stacy Kelley, a native of Hughesville, Pennsylvania, was one of many performers at the historic site that day. She had a canvas set up on an easel where she painted the likeness of a white house on the site.

“I’ve been doing art since I was in elementary school, so it’s definitely a lifelong passion,” Kelley said. “A lot of my art features farms, so this site is perfect.”

The last day of the festival is today and includes an art exhibition and awards ceremony in the TW Community room. The ceremony will be in affiliation with the Blue Heron Artisan Shop on Main Street in Wyalusing.

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