Lively festival set for downtown

Published 9:33 pm Monday, September 16, 2019

Suffolk’s Premier Arts, Retail and Cultural Initiative will hold SPARC Fest, a downtown street festival with all sorts of art and entertainment, this weekend.

SPARC Fest is free, open to the public and will be held this Saturday on South Main Street from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is sponsored by the Suffolk Economic Development, Suffolk Tourism, Parks and Recreation, the Community Action Coalition of Virginia and the SPARC Initiative, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that’s focused on the revitalization of downtown Suffolk.

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“(The goal of SPARC Fest) is to provide a community event downtown,” Carolyn Phillips, executive director for the SPARC Initiative, wrote in an email, “focusing on the celebration and revitalization of this area of Suffolk.”

More than a dozen vendors will sell handmade goods for a “unique shopping experience,” according to the press release, including jewelry, quilts, paintings, candles, prints and more. There will also be face painting for kids, activities with Suffolk Public Library and live demonstrations by Alton’s Keep Wildbird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc.

Food will be available for purchase from Annaliza’s Tasty Filipino Cuisine, Little Piggy’s Wurst Nightmare II and the Plaid Turnip restaurant. Downtown Suffolk’s Nansemond Brewing Company will also offer delicious craft beer.

The Ben Phelps Project band will perform at 11:30 a.m., followed by performances by Allongé Dance Academy at 1:15 p.m. and the band Roebuck at 2 p.m. Visitors will also be invited inside Allongé Dance Academy’s downtown Suffolk studio for further dance demonstrations and a free workshop.

The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of the South Main Street Train Station Public Art Project, with original pop-up murals on the Northwestern Train Station by several artists.

“Public art serves to beautify, revitalize and provide placemaking within a community,” Phillips wrote. “The South Main Street Train Station Project is no exception, and seeks to transform a vacant building into an outdoor gallery, showcasing local talent and pride in one’s community.”

Visit or email for more information.