WOOSTER — As the Wooster Arts Jazz Fest enters its 15th year, it is a unique partnership that keeps the event going.
Main Street Wooster executive director Sandra Hull said each member of the partnership brings its own set of talents to the annual event and the planning that precedes it.
This year's fest will be held in downtown Wooster on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
"The (Wooster) Rotary handles the volunteers, the Wooster City Schools and Boys and Girls Club does the Kids' Creation Station, the Wayne Center for the Arts gets the artists and also helps write a grant to the Ohio Arts Council, which is key for us," Hull said.
Main Street adds to the partnership by dealing with both the logistics and the marketing, she said.
The fest has grown each year, according to Hull, especially on the jazz side. This year, an additional stage — the Apple Creek Bank stage — has been added on South Market Street at the South Street intersection. That venue will play host to The Usual Suspects from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., the River City Jazz Band from 1-3 p.m. and Tim Dvorkin from 3-5 p.m.
There also will be entertainment throughout the day on the Buckeye Street and College Hills Honda stages, while the headliners — the Savoy Big Band and David Gerald — will perform on the Audrey Beaverson stage on Public Square.
The 13-piece Savoy Big Band has entertained the WAJF audience before and returns this year, bringing the sounds of smaller big bands that were popular in the 1920s and '30s. The Canton-based ensemble was formed in 2011 by Bob Feldbush and the late Jack Halkides in an attempt to preserve the sound of the Chick Webb Band, a favorite of Savoy Night Club audiences in New York City in the 1930s.
David Gerald, one of 11 children in his family that lived in rural Mississippi and then Detroit, brings a blues-infused rock and soul hybrid to the Wooster stage. His music crosses genres, bringing him recognition from the blues, soul and rock communities. His most recent CD, N2U, was released in April.
But music is only a part of the event. Food, Hull said, also brings the crowds downtown.
For that, Hull credited Amy Kaylor of Buehler's. This year, the gathering of food trucks will include Flamingo Jack's, Buehler's, Lerch's Donuts and Just Franks. And, of course, downtown restaurants also will be open.
It is an event for all ages, as children are welcome to discover their inner artists at the Kids' Creation Station and can watch the balloon-creation wizardry of Noah Sholl, a WAJF regular.
Some patrons will come to see the work of 25 artists who will have booths on West Liberty Street and Hull said those same shoppers also will tap into the downtown retailers. "The downtown," she said, "loves this event."
Reporter Tami Mosser can be reached at 330-287-1655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.