QUINCY — This weekend will see the return of Q-Fest to downtown Quincy, after the event was canceled for 2020.
Q-Fest is a collaboration between the District and the Quincy Art Center, featuring art exhibits, music, and artists with their creations on sale throughout Washington Park and the surrounding areas.
Bruce Guthrie, executive director for the District, said Q-Fest is an amazing weekend for both his organization and the community as a whole.
“It is so important to have friends and families get back to going out to events that gives them a chance to be social again,” he said. “We forget how important that is. It brings so many people downtown to experience the historic downtown environment and that includes new visitors who have never been downtown before.”
Guthrie said Q-Fest is also an event that allows the community and organizations like the District to show pride in our city and how unique it is.
“Finally, it’s just a great time for the community to get together and just have fun, especially after this very difficult past 18 months,” he added.
Highlights for this year’s event include two special by Jaycie Womack Spake of JcWoahMack Art. An interactive exhibit, “Let’s Explore Culture” will be on display between Fourth and Fifth streets on Maine. Funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council and Arts Quincy, the exhibit will give clues for kids to read and then find the pictures drawn on the street that match the clues.
Spake specializes in street chalk art, and a second exhibit, “Progression of Hope,” will also be on display at Q-Fest.
The Quincy Art Center has also provided activities for the “Arts for Everyone” tent since 2012. Executive director Jennifer Teter said the Art Center is excited to continue that community engagement with this year’s Q-Fest.
“We usually serve approximately 500 people during the weekend,” Teter said. “All the activities in the Art for Everyone tent is free. This year, we will offer on-site art activities, plus we will be giving away free take-home art kits.”
Teter said she enjoys visiting all of the various artists booths over the course of the weekend, seeing the work of both local artists and those visiting Quincy.
“I enjoy seeing new artworks that challenge me to think about something in a new way,” she said. “It’s also a great opportunity to support artists, by purchasing artwork.”
Teter also emphasized the Young Collectors Gallery as a way for kids to let their own tastes flourish as they create their own collections.
“It is an amazing chance for kids to purchase artwork at extremely reduced prices,” she said. “Q-Fest artists donate to this gallery and the proceeds help support art education opportunities for children.”
The Young Collectors Gallery is open for kids ages four to fourteen, with pieces sold for no more than $10 each. Quincy Art Center staff is on hand to assist as needed and to ensure the young collectors, rather than their parents, are able to make their own art choices.
Along with the art displays, the second installment of Blues in the District for this year is slated for Friday night when Mississippi Heat jumps onto the bandstand in Washington Park starting at 5:30 p.m. For lunch time, local musician Steve Rees will be playing an acoustic noon blues set in the southeast corner of Washington Park.
Saturday night the music continues with the return of the Q-Fest Street Concert. Hitting the stage at Fifth and Maine will be Top Gunz. Voted best cover band for 2020 by St. Louis Magazine readers, Top Gunz brings 80s arena rock to flashy, multi-colored life. The gates open at 7 p.m. Saturday with the main event starting at 8 p.m.
Most events for Q-Fest weekend, including the art exhibits and Blues in the District, are free and open for the public to attend. The Street Concert has a $5 entry cost per person. Food and drinks will be available to purchase throughout the weekend as well.