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Applegate: Exciting events coming this summer to Downtown Morris

Julie Applegate
Julie Applegate

Summer is upon us, bringing all kinds of festivals and events to downtown Morris.

Here, at the Morris Downtown Development Partnership, I have been busy planning for the Liberty 5K Run/Walk and the third annual Liberty Arts Festival.

The Arts Festival returns to downtown Morris on July 13 -15.

I was happy to see so many businesses and organizations get involved and share in the excitement of the festival in 2016, and am looking forward to an even bigger and better event this year!

One of the highlights of the event is Saturday’s Art Walk.

Locals and visitors alike enjoy strolling down Washington and Liberty Street, visiting booths filled with photography, paintings, pottery, glass art and more!

Additionally, we will have a separate Hand-Made Market featuring items such as repurposed jewelry, handmade wax products, hand crafts and furniture.

Once again the Fine Art Walk will be juried with ribbons and cash prizes awarded to first-, second- and third-place participants.

Artists interested in participating are encouraged to call (815) 941-0245, or visit to download an application.

I am happy to see many local organizations participate in the Art Walk. The Morris Watercolor Guild will be offering one-on-one watercolor instruction to adults, teens and pre-teens interested in watercolor.

The Grundy County Woodworkers will be returning, and I am pleased to have fine artists from Cornerstone Services participate this year.

I am very excited about a new event being planned this year. We will be inviting the downtown stores that support us to offer adult beverage sampling in their stores during the festival.

Attendees will receive a complimentary glass, a list of participating stores, and will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite beverage. Specific information should be available the end of this week.

Another highlight of the festival is the “Creator’s Village.”

Kids of all ages will have the opportunity to express their creativity in a variety of mediums and bring home a bag full of art projects. Participants will receive a passport that they will have stamped at each station, and receive a prize when it is completed.

Plans are also in place for the return of Shine Music Fest/Christian Music Experience. This year, the event will be held at the new band shell in Goold Park.

A complimentary trolley will be available to transport attendees to and from Shine to the Grundy County Courthouse and the Grundy County Historical Society Museum. Churches and local Christian musicians are encouraged to call or visit our website for an application to participate.

There will be music throughout the weekend with concerts each evening, strolling musicians during the Art Walk and various musicians throughout the weekend. There will also be dance performances from Donna Mueller’s School of Dance and the Morris High School Poms.

And everyone is invite to enjoy some Zumba on Saturday morning!

A preliminary schedule of events is listed on our website.

I also encourage you to visit our Liberty Arts Festival and Downtown Morris Facebook pages for updates. A complete schedule should be available by the end of May.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Grundy Bank for their support of this event. The Morris Downtown Development Partnership is excited to bring this festival to downtown Morris and hopes that the community will enjoy all that it has to offer.

• Julie Applegate is the executive director of Morris Downtown Development Partnership. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.

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