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Fine Arts Fiesta returns Thursday to Public Square in Wilkes-Barre

Mime, Laura Bertin, looks at an art piece with a guest at the Fiesta.
Aimee Dilger
Mime, Laura Bertin, looks at an art piece with a guest at the Fine Arts Fiesta in 2023.

The Fine Arts Fiesta returns to Public Square this week with art shows, performances, food and community art projects.

“There’s a lot of things to see and do,” said Ann Saxton, board president for the annual event.

The Fiesta opens Thursday morning and runs until Sunday evening with 40 artists, juried exhibits and a full slate of daily performances from local groups.

This year, any of the expected thousands of people who stop by the event can leave their mark - either by jotting down a haiku on the new Haiku Wall or participating in a community mural.

Saxton said Grayson Rogers, an artist and board member for the Fiesta, was already mixing the paints for the community mural earlier this week.

“Our guests can come and help paint it,” she said. “He created the design.”

At the bandshell, Saxton said more than 25 community organizations will take the stage throughout the weekend, performing dance, music and poetry.

After nearly 6,000 people filled the square for the Spin Doctors in 2023, Saxton said board members used their contacts to bring another well-known act downtown on Saturday night.

Michael Glabicki, founding member of the band Rusted Root, will perform with the Rusted Root Uprooted Trio on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. All performances at the Fine Arts Fiesta are free and open to the public.

This year marks the 67th Fine Arts Fiesta in Wilkes-Barre. Saxton said they expect anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000 people to come through the square over the course of the event.

“Our fingers are crossed for nice weather,” she said.

A full schedule of events and performances is available at fineartsfiesta.org.

Fine Arts Fiesta runs from Thursday, May 16, until Sunday, May 19.

Traffic pattern for the 2024 Fine Arts Fiesta
Courtesy of the City of Wilkes-Barre

-West Market Street will be closed at South Franklin Street

-Public Square from West Market Street to South Main Street will be closed to traffic

-From South Main Street, traffic onto Public Square will exit from the Square onto either

-East Market Street or North Main Street

-From East Market Street, traffic onto Public Square will exit from the Square onto North Main Street

-From North Main Street, no access around Public Square. All traffic will be directed across Butler Lane to South Washington Street.

Sofia Dombroski’s favorite part of the Fine Arts Fiesta was the face painting.
Sofia Dombroski’s favorite part of the 2023 Fine Arts Fiesta was the face painting.

Sarah Scinto is the local host of Morning Edition on WVIA. She is a Connecticut native and graduate of King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, and has previously covered Northeastern Pennsylvania for The Scranton Times-Tribune, The Citizens’ Voice and Greater Pittston Progress.

You can email Sarah at sarahscinto@wvia.org