Summer Soul-stice Gearing Up For First Year

Mitchell Main Street & Beyond’s Summer Soulstice Arts Festival is almost here.

The Summer Soulstice Arts Festival will be held June 21 in downtown Mitchell. The festival will run from noon to 8:30 p.m., with live music ending at 9:30 p.m.

The festival returns after a three-year hiatus. The traditional community arts in the park was held in Hitchcock Park for more than 30 years. However, the last time the festival was held in Hitchcock Park was in 2008, said Lori Holmberg, Executive Director of the Dakota Discovery Museum and a volunteer with MMS&B.

A few other locations hosted the festival, including the Davison County Fairgrounds in 2009 and the Dakota Discovery Museum in 2010 and 2011. The festival ended in 2011, due to a lack of entrants. But MMS&B is bringing the festival back to life and to a new home in the hopes to reignite the tradition and draw crowds to the historic commercial district.

“It’ll be in a little different venue,” said Holmberg of the location of this year’s festival. “But, the Mitchell area has really missed (the arts festival) and we need to take advantage of the location. We hope to have the same success with our festival that other communities have had recently.”

More than 20 vendors have signed up for the Summer Soulstice Arts Festival. There will be live entertainment from regional and local artists, as well as art demonstrations.

Masondra and Jordan Metzger, of Mitchell, are excited to have a booth at the Summer Soulstice Arts Festival. The Metzgers make leather-bound journals, photo albums and sketch books. “Everything we do is with leather,” Masondra Metzger said. “We do the binding in house and all the printing.”

Custom books can be made to order. In addition to books, there are other small, leather products made out of the scraps from the books and photo albums. The Metzgers travel to several art festivals throughout the years, some including the Brookings’ Arts in the Park and Sioux Falls sidewalk festivals.

“We’re just really excited to be in Mitchell,” Masondra Metzger said. “We have done a little work with the Dakota Discovery Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village, but we haven’t put our stuff out there for the Mitchell residents.”

Tom and Wanda Clarke, of Dakota Potter’s Supply in Sioux Falls will hold raku pottery demonstrations at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. next to Potter’s Plus Studio. Local artisan Clark Martinek of Mitchell will hold a blacksmith demonstration at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the intersection of 2nd & Main Street.

There will also be live music throughout the day from Sioux Falls’ Elisabeth Hunstad and Mitchell’s Billy Lurken, Jones & Co. and The Barbershop Chorus.

“It’s a great idea to put the festival on and to be putting it on Main Street,” Lurken said. “It will hopefully attract a lot of people. It’s always fun to play for people in town. You never know who will show up,” he added.

Lurken said festivals like the Summer Soulstice are greatly needed in Mitchell, as they will attract a crowd that normally would not visit the downtown district. “Mitchell needs more art events like this,” Lurken said. “It will serve the community well and give people the opportunity to show off

Chalk It Up, a kids sidewalk chalk event will kick off the day’s festivities at 9 a.m. The event is free to youth ages 6 to 12. Kids will draw a picture on Main Street’s sidewalks with the theme “Mitchell Through Your Eyes.” To register your kids, call 990-4500.

For a full schedule of the Summer Soulstice Arts Festival, visit www.mitchellmainstreet.com/summer-soulstice-arts-festival.html.