Each year, Downtown South Bend hosts Art Beat, a one-day festival that showcases the city’s visual, culinary, and performance artists. The festival typically takes place the last Saturday in August – this year’s festival took place on August 29.
My parents were visiting South Bend from the Chicago area that day, so we decided to check out the festival for something to do. My favorite thing about Art Beat is that it brings the community together. This year, more than 200 artists displayed their work along Michigan Street and numerous musicians and dancers performed on four stages. There was also a food tent, where local restaurants showcased their cuisine. Unfortunately, it rained like crazy throughout the festival, so the attendance was lower than normal; however, there was still a pretty good turnout, and the rain didn’t seem to dampen the vendors’ spirits.
One of the unique things about Art Beat is that the vendor fees are extremely low, attracting individuals who don’t normally participate in art fairs. This is both good and bad – it allows pretty much anyone from the community to participate, but it also means that the quality of art isn’t always stellar. That being said, I love the wide variety of artwork that’s showcased at the festival – ceramics, jewelry, paintings, mixed media, home decor, etc. There are also things that I’ve never seen before at an art festival, such as a booth filled with zombie dolls.
Art Beat is a great event to explore downtown, while enjoying live music, dance, and visual arts with other members of the community.