You’ve got to hand it to Aurora Alderman Mike Saville for thinking big about an instrument that’s so dang small.
The ukulele, of Don Ho fame for folks of a certain generation, will be the center of attention Aug. 26, when downtown Aurora hosts its first-ever City of Lights Ukulele Festival.
The Uke Fest will feature “performances from big names in the ukulele scene, workshops, vendors, and more,” according to the city’s website.
For several years, Seville envisioned the festival being hosted in Downtown Aurora.
“With the surging popularity of the ukulele as well as the dedication, creativity, and skills of the members on our committee, we feel that the City of Lights Ukulele Festival can grow into one of the largest in the Midwest,” Seville said.
Officials say the downtown Aurora area offers a setting, with new restaurants, businesses, museums the Paramount Theater and other entertainment venues.
A Letter from Alderman Mike Saville
Hosting a Ukulele Festival in Aurora is a musical and family event I have pondered about for a few years.
I have spent some time on YouTube researching and discovering videos of people playing and singing with the Ukulele. There are people of all ages and from all over the world on YouTube performing and playing the Ukulele. Some of these Ukulele videos have millions of views and are very popular.
Also, what I found was that Ukulele festivals were being held all over the worl. These events are quite popular and well attended family events. As Aurora now has a rich history of supporting musical events — we have the Paramount, RiverEdge Park, the Downtown events, and others — I thought it would be great to begin a new tradition by proposing an annual Ukulele festival for people of all ages in the Midwest.
So I recently phoned Todd VonOhlen because of his work in the music business and the contacts that he has in our community. I pitched my idea of having an all Ukulele concert, sing-alongs, workshops, Hula Dancing, food vendors and an all-around fun event.
Todd loved my idea and phoned Hix Bros Music (Carl and Andrew Hix), and we began having regular weekly meetings to plan and host this event in our downtown.
Our City of Lights Ukulele Festival will benefit the downtown and continue to put Aurora on the map as an artist and music community for people of all ages. Our Ukulele committee has been formed from the Ukulele and music community of the Aurora area and our volunteers have taken this idea to the next level to assure that this will be a successful event.
I am excited about the possibilities for Aurora to host this family event in our City. Aurora is a “Happening City”!!!
Ukulele Fest FAQs
What is the cost of admission to the festival?
Access to the stage area is:
- $10 per adult (18+)
- $25 per family (parent[s] + teen[s])
- Children 12 years and younger are free with an accompanying adult.
Can I bring water to the City of Lights Ukulele Festival?
Yes! We highly encourage you to do so in order to stay hydrated and safe.
Is alcohol allowed at the City of Lights Ukulele Festival?
Alcohol purchased or obtained outside of the festival is strictly prohibited. However, there will be a beer vendor on site.
Are coolers allowed?
Please do not bring large coolers to the festival.
Can we bring our own chairs?
Yes! Seating will not be provided at the festival.
Are animals allowed inside the festival?
Only service animals are permitted inside the festival.
Will there be dining options at the festival?
Yes! We will have multiple food vendors on-site, and there are various restaurants and eateries just a short walk away.
Which museums will be open during the day?
On the day of the festival, The David L. Pierce Art and History Center, SciTech Museum, Aurora Regional Fire Museum, and GAR Memorial Hall and Museum will be open for free to the public from noon to 6pm. Further information coming soon.
SOURCE: city of Aurora, www.cityoflightsukulelefestival.com