Organizers, downtown South Bend businesses prepare for inaugural 'Fringe Fest'

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Downtown South Bend and the Civic Theatre are hosting the first ever 'Fringe Festival' over the weekend. More than two dozen acts will be performing over the course of the next three days.

"Fringe is a very exciting, worldwide movement that started in Edenborough, Scotland," said Grace Lazarz, Volunteer Director of the South Bend Civic Theatre. "It’s actually a theatre festival, but ours is extended a little bit beyond that into being a performing arts festival in general."

Performances will span the world of dance, art, theater, music, and comedy. John Hunt Plaza, Studebaker Plaza, The Gridiron, Leeper Park Amphitheater, and Leighton Plaza will all host performances.

"It’s all about supporting independent artists. It’s short, rapid fire, about 45 to 60 minutes long and they’re performed multiple times over the course of several days," said Lazarz.

For Roselily owner, Eamon McParland, Fringe Fest gives businesses and restaurants hope that people are feeling more comfortable going to larger events.

"I’ve noticed that for the last few weeks, people getting vaccinated, we’re getting a lot of people that are coming out saying this is our first time out," said McParland. "It’s definitely nice to have a getting back to normal type of thing."

McParland says it was only appropriate for one of the first major events to happen in Downtown South Bend since the COVID pandemic began to be a fine arts festival. 

"I’ve just noticed South Bend progress insanely in those last few years and then COVID happened and it was put on pause but now that these vaccinations are happening, people are feeling more comfortable I feel like we’re just picking up where we left off and that’s great," said McParland. "I love that."

Tickets for Fringe Fest can be purchased here.

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