LAKE PLACID - A yearly fundraiser for a local philanthropic organization has expanded this year to include more workshops and musical attractions.
The World Music Festival will raise funds for Reason 2 Smile, a Lake Placid-based group, to help fund a school and orphanage in Kenya. It's slated for Saturday at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Daytime activities start at 8:45 a.m. and include mask and instrument making for children as well as belly dancing, yoga and zumba classes for adults.
"Our desire is for people to learn about different cultures - to learn about different music and art and dance in those cultures," Keela Dates Grimmette, Reason 2 Smile's founder and executive director, told the Enterprise. "I think often times we hear about different countries and different cultures but typically through a negative light, because in the news often times we're hearing about them because of something negative.
Soma Beats dancers perform at the 2012 World Music Festival. From left are Julianne Fraser, Mimi Frantz, Tammy Loewy, Johnna MacDougall and Carrie Niebanck. The World Music Festival returns to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts Saturday to raise funds for Reason 2 Smile.
(Photo — John DiGiacomo)
"My hope is that people will learn about these different cultural arts opportunities and then, when they hear about that country, they'll have more of a positive connection that goes along with that rather than a negative one."
The event was first held in 2008 at Saranac Lake High School. At the time, it was known as Reason 2 Smile Arts Night. It featured local music and a singing group from the University of Vermont.
In 2012, the festival was held at the LPCA, and workshop elements were added.
"That went over really well; a lot of kids really loved that," Grimmette said. "So this year we decided to grow that even more and kind of open it up to a full day. ... We wanted to open it up to all ages. We wanted to provide an opportunity where parents can drop off their kids to do the kids camp portion, but then there's also workshops offered in the next building over where parents can be taking a couple of classes while their kids are busy."
The day's schedule also includes activities geared for teenagers.
In the evening, UVM's a cappella group, the Top Cats, will perform, as will Robanic, a reggae band from Saratoga Springs.
The workshops will be run by volunteers, so all entry fees will go to Reason 2 Smile. Grimmette said there are costs associated with renting space at the LPCA and paying Robanic. A number of local businesses have also chipped in with support, including Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters, Emma's Lake Placid Creamery, Gordon W. Pratt Agency Inc., High Peaks Dental, Lake Placid Family Dental, Martha Day Realty Inc., Ruthie's Run and State Farm Insurance agent Mike Foote.
Grimmette also thanked Johnna MacDougall and Jackie Gilmore for their help in organizing this year's event.
Grimmette said she hopes the festival can be expanded even more and eventually turn into a weekend-long event.