SPARKcon brings smorgasbord of arts to downtown Raleigh

09/08/2013 10:19 PM

09/08/2013 10:21 PM

About 2,000 circus performers, comedians, musicians and other artists will descend on downtown this weekend for the eighth annual SPARKcon festival.

The free arts and culture festival drew 35,000 people last year, but this year it’s sharing the September stage with even bigger events like the World of Bluegrass festival at the end of the month.

“To me, it’s invigorating that all this other stuff is going on,” said SPARKcon executive director Sarah Powers. “Rising tides lift all boats and keep the momentum going. It’s neat to be in the middle. We feel like we started out instigating something bigger, and this is it.

“Shine a light on Raleigh, get people motivated, and who knows what may happen? Eight years later, September in Raleigh looks pretty cool, and we’re proud of that.”

SPARKcon offers several events Thursday, then a full slate from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at 20 venues on and around Fayetteville Street. Events run the gamut with fashion shows, chalk drawings in the street, film screenings, food trucks, and arts and crafts vendors.

“Our aim is to expose different talents and bring them together ... letting creative people make things happen is still the centerpiece of it all,” Powers said.

With so many activities to choose from, it’s wise to plan ahead. Check out the full schedule of events at

Staff writer David Menconi contributed to this report.

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