The arts are alive and well in Easton, especially with this weekend's 20th anniversary of the Riverside Festival of the Arts, held along the river banks. Presented by ACE (Arts Community Easton), activities range from a juried arts gallery to cupcake wars and a cuisine challenge featuring local chefs.

Kristin Longo was named winner of the 2016 annual Easton Riverside Festival of the Arts poster contest.

The festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with events in Riverside Park and Scott Park on Larry Holmes Drive.

The fun continues with a plein air contest with cash prizes, artists and crafts, music, performance art and spoken word events, and children’s art projects. An education workshop on Sunday features muralist James Gloria, founder and artistic director of the Totts Gap Arts Institute.

Two new local groups to perform this year are the Freddy Brigade and the Easton Theater Co-op.

The Freddy Brigade is comprised of Freddy Awards alumni/students who perform at special events at the State Theatre. Most recently, the group entertained riders aboard the trolley ride at Easton Heritage Day. The singers are slated to perform on Saturday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at Scott Park.

The Easton Theater Co-op, scheduled to perform Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at Scott Park, is comprised of Lehigh Valley community theater veterans. With Jim Vivian, founder and president, the group made its recent debut at a fundraiser held earlier this year at Easton's Pomfret Club.

For further info: eastonriversidefest.org

ARTS ROUNDUP

Easton remains in the spotlight next weekend with a rather unique event – "Legends of Lafayette College – Living History, Art Show, and Guided Tours" -- on Saturday, September 24 from 1 to 4 p.m., in the chapel and on the grounds of The Historic Easton Cemetery, 401 North Seventh Street.

The show will highlight a series of watercolors by noted Easton artist and visual storyteller Preston K. Hindmarch of Aardvark Graphics, focusing on the lives of five men who made an impact in the history of the college: George Barclay, William Cattell, James Coffin, Aaron Hoff, and James Madison Porter.

The cemetery, which opened in 1849, also will launch a self-guided walking tour booklet illustrated and formatted by Hindmarch featuring these five men and many other Lafayette notables who are buried in the cemetery.

Friends of the Karl Stirner Arts Trail will hold special activities. The trail is a scenic, paved 2.5-mile path beginning in downtown Easton and following the Bushkill Creek along the lower portion of the cemetery. Karl Stirner (1923-2016), internationally renowned sculptor, was raised in Philadelphia and moved to Easton in 1983, where he became known as the city's unofficial ambassador. Stirner was instrumental in encouraging artists to follow him to Easton's vibrant community.

  • George Oliver Barclay (1876-1909) is best known for inventing the first American football helmet in 1894. He played football at Lafayette and was concerned about protecting his ears. The special headgear consisted of three leather straps.
  • William Cassady Cattell (1827-1898) came to Lafayette in 1855 as professor of ancient languages (Latin and Greek). He later was elected to its board of trustees and in 1863 served as its president for 20 years.
  • James Henry Coffin (1806-1873) was an educator, mathematician and meteorologist whose tenure at Lafayette began in 1846 when he taught mathematics, natural philosophy, and astronomy. He is best known for his collaboration with the then-newly-established Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
  • Aaron Ogden Hoff (1808-1902) was a member of Lafayette's first class and was its first African American student. He also blew the bugle that announced classes before the practice was replaced with a bell. Students from the college raised funds to place a monument on his grave to mark the 100th anniversary of his death.
  • James Madison Porter (1793-1862) came to Easton in 1818 as deputy attorney general of Northampton County. He was the moving force in founding the college, where he taught for 15 years. He named the college in honor of General Lafayette.

Photos: Legends of Lafayette College

Posted: 12:25 PM EDT Sep 15, 2016
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Admission to "Legends of Lafayette College" is free; donations are greatly appreciated.

Two Rivers Brewing Company will provide a specially selected beer to sample. A variety of light refreshments from local restaurants will be available.

For further info: 610-253-3133 (art show and history tours) |
610-252-1741 |  thehistoriceastoncemetery.org

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The State Theatre in Easton kicks off its historic 90th season on Sunday at 7 p.m., with Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill making his fifth solo performance at the venue since 2007. Gill performed there in 2013 with the Grammy-nominated The Time Jumpers, the sophisticated Nashville-based ensemble dedicated to revitalizing western-swing and classic honky tonk.

On September 22, vocal legend Johnny Mathis performs his 60th anniversary concert at 7:30 p.m. With multiple Grammy nominations and 73 songs that hit the Billboard charts, Mathis is still going strong after more than half a century. He's touring with special guest, comedian and musician Gary Mule Deer.

It's a soldout concert on September 25 when Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson returns to the venue to present the iconic album, "Pet Sounds," for its 50th anniversary celebration and final performance in its entirety. Special guests will be Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin.

For further info: statetheatre.org

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The charming and witty "Almost, Maine" by John Cariani opens Friday at 8 p.m., at the Macungie Institute, 510 East Main St., Macungie, Lehigh County, as presented by the Global ImpACTORS Group.