Elgin Fringe Festival set to 'Raise the Blimp' and kick off its third year

  • The Elgin Fringe Festival Blimp in flight.

    The Elgin Fringe Festival Blimp in flight. Courtesy of Elgin Fringe Festival

Elgin Fringe Festival
Updated 9/9/2016 8:32 PM

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the "Raising of the Blimp" dedication ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. outside of Blue Box Café, 176 E. Chicago St., to officially begin the third Elgin Fringe Festival.

This is the second year of this new tradition that features the Elgin Fringe Festival blimp, depicting a downtown landscape inspired by the eclectic architecture of Elgin, originally designed by Elgin artist Jim Lloyd.


The blimp will be formally christened by a selection of the local artists and business owners who will act as the first-ever Elgin Fringe Festival Court with a King and Queen to be announced the day of the event. This high-profile unveiling of the quilted drape will follow with a ceremonial spray from super soakers and champagne by the participants.

Afterward, the Elgin Fringe Festival opening party will begin at Martini Room just down the street, where the public can see free preview performances, purchase fringe buttons, and have a taste of the new 2016 Fringetini.

"The Court" will be represented by Martini Room owner Ula Borodzinska, Hemmens Cultural Center director Butch Wilhelmi, David Metzger, creator of Cheesecake and Something Wicked events, Elgin Fringe Festival Committee member Jane Erlandson, SCORE founder Rise Jones, as well as local artists Jacob Lucas, Chris Palm and Maddie Richmond.

"The Organizers" onsite to announce the King and Queen will be: Sean Hargadon, executive director of Elgin Fringe Festival; Amanda Harris, coordinator of Elgin Art Showcase; Chris and Kathy Mau, owner of Blue Box Café; Tanner Melvin, co-founder of Side Street Studio Arts/Next Door Theater; and Elgin Fringe Festival artists, performers, and the public.

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This year, the Elgin Fringe Festival will open its third year next month when it takes over the downtown featuring a variety of dance, music, theater and visual arts. The four-day festival will run Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 15-18.

This year's festival has grown to feature close to 200 artists -- the most in fringe history -- who will present 120 performances in venues as varied as a basement, cafe, pub, park, gallery, ballroom and a church. This year's festival also offers an expanded Family Fringe festival and a new two-day musical lineup.

Elgin Fringe performances will take place at the Blue Box Cafe, Elgin Art Showcase, Elgin Public House, Imago Studios, Next Door Theater, outside the Hemmens Cultural Center and the First United Methodist Church. Elgin Fringe Headquarters will be located at Side Street Studio Arts, 15 Ziegler Court, where people can get show information, purchase tickets, meet the artists, and find out about the events and all activities associated with the fringe.

Returning this year on Saturday during the day is an expanded Family Fringe event on the grounds outside of the Hemmens Cultural Center, featuring free performances by magician/storyteller Cody Clark, the Olive Juice Theater, Robert Frosty Theater Company and Captain Ambivalent along with activities for kids of all ages. Popular performers Kelly Bolton, David Boyle and Chicago Burlesque Showcase return to EFF along with newcomers 2 Merry Men, Didn't Know I Was Dangerous, Jeremy Schaefer, and Imaginez Ensemblez -- a Cirque-inspired aerial show, to name just a few.


The Martini Room will once again host the Elgin Fringe preview, after-parties and other special events during the festival. And this year, the Elgin Short Film Festival will offer a sneak peak of short animated films to be voted on by the public.

To learn more about the Elgin Fringe Festival, or how to purchase fringe buttons and tickets to shows, go to www.elginfringefestival.com. Check out the Facebook page: Elgin Fringe Festival.

The Elgin Fringe Festival is sponsored by the City of Elgin, Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, Side Street Studio Arts, Janus Theatre Company, Business Matters, Blue Box Cafe, Elgin Art Showcase, Elgin Public House, Hemmens Cultural Center, Imago Studios, Next Door Theater, Bravo Media, Toppel Plumbing, Joe and Armida Dominquez, David Newton, Marianne Bost, Michael Wilson, and artist Zelda Vidal. The Elgin Fringe Festival is part of the United States Association of Fringe Festivals and is the proud recipient of Elgin's Image Award.


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