By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
Baltimore always makes for fun trip. With so much to do, it’s a great place for families to visit. Here you can enjoy numerous museums, historic spots, the Baltimore Aquarium, ship tours, and more. And now you have an added incentive: Light City Baltimore, a free nine-day free festival of light, music, and innovation, starting March 31, 2017. The festival, which made its debut in 2016, is the first large-scale international light festival in the United States. The central attraction is the BGE Light Art Walk along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, featuring more than 50 attractions including illuminated sculptures, projections, interactive technologies, performances, concerts, food vendors and a children’s area.
Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, Inc. produces the event, which showcases spectacular light installations from many artists local to Baltimore as well as artists from around the United States the world (Israel, Belgium, France, and others). These large, unique art pieces each have a story to tell, and some may surprise you: the Impulse sculpture, for example, is a publicly activated light and sound experience designed to “create an urban play space through 15 seesaws of various sizes.” To activate the seesaws, one person sits down on each end. The seesaws, fitted with LED lights and speakers, then produce a series of beautiful sounds.
From March 31 to to April 8, visitors can enjoy not just the dazzling lights but also dozens of free performances. Each night from 7 pm to 11 pm (or midnight on weekends), there will be performances including music, fire choreography, illuminated stilt walkers, illuminated puppets and projections, dance, and a roving bicycle performance by Squonk Opera. In addition to the scheduled acts there will be spontaneous or “pop-up” performances along the Light Art Walk.
This year, Light City Baltimore also extends to eight distinct neighborhoods through an immersive community artist-in-residence program, Neighborhood Lights: Artists and community groups will design and develop a collaborative illuminated piece reflecting the personality of each participating neighborhood.
Families with kids will want to visit the “Mini Light City,” designed just for children and youth. Here they will enjoy hands-on illuminated craft activities in a youth maker’s tent, plus children’s entertainment, and “whimsical snacks.” The entertainment includes circus acts, puppets, a ballet performance, and plenty of musical performances. Mini Light City is open from 5 pm to 8 pm each night of the festival at Kaufman Pavilion at Rash Field.
Food will be plentiful both from the eight food and beverage stations along the BGE Light Art Walk, and the numerous restaurants in the Inner Harbor and surrounding area that will remain open for festival goers (some of these places have created special menus for the event).
And while the festival may seem to come alive at night,it’s not limited to evenings: during the day, Light City Baltimore hosts innovation conferences on various topics such as emerging technologies in health, a “startup soiree” for entrepreneurs, and more. The Labs@LightCity program does have a cost of $149 for a single Lab and just $99 for each additional Lab. See more on the Light City website.
Here is a peek at some of the light installations you might see at Light City Baltimore this year.
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