City of Lights Ukulele Festival launches in downtown Aurora on August 26

Come downtown Aurora for the first City of Lights Ukulele Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26, on the Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora.

A day after artists converge on the same mall for Alley Art Festival on Saturday, August 25, ukulele performers will take over the pedestrian-friendly space near City Hall.

Aurora Ald. Michael Saville, 6th Ward, thought up the ukulele festival in Aurora. Saville teamed up with Hix Bros and others to organize the one-day festival.

The bill for the day includes at least six ukulele bands – some of them national acts.

The lineup includes: Lil’ Rev, a national performer and recording artist based in Milwaukee; Gerald Ross, a national recording artist and teacher; Lanialoha Lee, a native Hawaiian who was raised in the Chicago area and is an expert in Polynesian music; the Fabulous Heftones, based in Lansing, Mich., who play music of the 1920s; The Beatleleles, who play Beatles music on the ukulele; and the Hix Bros. Ukulele Band, organized through Hix Bros. Music in Aurora.

In addition to their sets, several of the musicians will offer workshops. Todd Von Ohlen, an audio and video systems expert based in Aurora, said Lil’ Rev is known for teaching people who have never played the ukulele before to play a song in one hour. On the other hand, Gerald Ross takes more experienced players and shows them how to play different forms of music on the uke.

A professional hula dancing troupe would perform and teach the hula, and Sci-Tech and the Aurora Fire Museum would sponsor a troupe of fire dancers. Not only would Sci-Tech and the Aurora Fire Museum be open, the Pierce Art & History museum and GAR Museum would be open too.

There will be food vendors, and vendors selling ukuleles, from “cheap to super fancy,” Von Ohlen said. There would even be a vendor handing out cardboard boxes and rubber bands so kids can make their own instruments.

“People are coming in from all over the Midwest, they’re saying it’s about time this area had something like this,” Von Ohlen said.

Tickets are $10 each, or $25 for a family.

The festival is being funded by ward funds from Saville, and sponsors, including Aurora Downtown.

There will be two free hula performances complete with fire dancers. Each performance will be one hour long.
  • 1:00pm – Performance at the Aurora Regional Fire Museum (53 N Broadway)
  • 4:00pm – Performance at SciTech (18 W Benton)
Free crafts will also be available while supplies last.
  • Aurora Regional Fire Museum – make your own flower lei.
  • David L. Pierce Art and History Center – create your own tropical ornament.
  • SciTech – color your own tiki mask.
Crafts and performances are sponsored by Aurora Downtown.

For information and tickets, go to www.cityoflightsukulelefestival.com. RSVP to the Facebook event here.

See the original story online here.

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