Spring Northampton Around the Show

AROUND THE SHOW there is so much to do, see, touch and savor – whether you come for a day or the whole weekend. Paradise City is an art museum, a learning experience, a food festival, a feast for the eyes and retail therapy, all rolled up into one. Explore the three airy Exhibition Buildings connected by covered walkways to each other and to the Festival Dining Tent. For 28 years, the Paradise City Arts Festival has been New England’s cultural, culinary and shopping destination on Memorial Day Weekend.

Under the Festival Dining Tent

The Festival Dining Tent at the Paradise City Arts Festival is a microcosm of Northampton’s vibrant restaurant scene, with music wafting through the air and recipes that come from the heart. Sample everything from exotic curries and dim sum to locavore burgers, crisp fries, tossed salads, lobster rolls, and fresh-churned ice cream from right here in the Valley. 

This holiday weekend Paradise City presents original music, jazz, Motown and swing by three of the region’s favorite bands, from noon – 4pm Saturday & Sunday and 11:30 – 3:30 Monday:

Saturday, May 27: The Green Street Trio, and introducing Avery Joi, a young up-and-coming guest vocalist from New York City. George Kaye on bass, Paul Arslanian on piano, and Jon Fisher on drums show off their jazz chops with style and verve.

Sunday, May 28: The Leslie Alexandra Quartet. Classic Big Band music with fabulous vocals by Leslie Alexandra and keyboards by Don McMahon. The face behind the beat is Chet Pasek on percussion.  

Monday, May 29: The O-Tones, one of Paradise City’s most popular bands!  Whether they are playing Swing, Motown, or R & B, this six-piece band showcases powerful vocal harmonies, catchy rhythms, horns, and amazing strings. 

Silent Art Auction to Benefit the International Language Institute

Bid high and bid often at Paradise City’s Benefit Silent Art Auction in Exhibition Building 3. With generous donations from our artists, we have raised over $500,000 over the years to benefit many community causes and non-profits. The selected organization receives 100% of the donated funds. This spring the auction benefits the International Language Institute of Massachusetts (ILI). ILI provides free English classes for America’s new arrivals from all over the world so they can recycle their skills in this country and successfully integrate into our local community.

NEW! An introductory course in Spanish! It’s happening Saturday & Sunday, right at the show. Three sessions a day of 20 to 30 minutes of Spanish, followed by feedback and suggestions on how to find the course that’s right for you. Since it’s limited to 6-8 people per session, head to the Auction Tables when you get to the show to sign up in advance.

SPECIAL EXHIBIT: With Flying Colors!

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way; things I had no words for.
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Color plays a pivotal role in all visual arts, whether in paint, clay, steel, stone, or cloth. The interplay of light and dark, bright and dull, colors from opposite sides of the wheel – these allow artists to express emotions, tell stories, explore landscapes and create new ones. We savor the richly distinctive hues of a handwoven jacket and revel in the beautifully colored scarves that adorn them. We search for the perfect gemstone that brings out the radiant color in someone’s eyes. Woodworkers often use accent colors to highlight shape and grain; a colorful table runner can even join with the rich hues of a maple or walnut surface to herald a meal fit for kings. Ceramic and glass vessels of all types, by their very nature, play with light and offer a virtual panoply of color. And of course there is painting; in the hands of an artist, the deft and inspired use of color practically tells a story all its own. 

Don’t miss this eye-popping exhibition in Building 2.

How Do They Do It?

Paradise City keeps your hands, eyes and brain busy. Get a glimpse of the technique and thought process behind each piece of art or craft, whether it’s during a formal demonstration or just talking to individual artists. It’s one of the many pleasures of this event.

Play with Clay
Roll up your sleeves and learn clay sculpture with Alan and Rosemary Bennett. The Bennetts create hand-sculpted fish, aquatic life and imaginary creatures from stoneware and porcelain, fired using the raku, crystalline and magnesium carbonite glaze methods. A spellbinding teacher, Alan Bennett especially loves working with children. But all ages can exercise their creativity with clay! Building 3, Booth 901

The changing installations and large-scale sculpture along the Sculpture Promenade between the Festival Dining Tent and the Exhibition Buildings are catnip for kids, Instagram heaven and full of fantastic decorating ideas for your own gardens. You’ll see beautifully sculpted herons, roosters and otters, dogs and cats made of oddball metal objects, and ceramic vessels the size of a human being. Think of how a one-of-a-kind firepit, birdbath, stone fountain or modernist sculpture would welcome springtime into your landscape!

Craft Cocktails

What turns an ordinary drink into a Craft Cocktail? Some of the same elements that make the work of our exhibiting artists so special! For one thing, it’s made with more care. It’s not boiler-plate, and the bartender is a little more passionate about getting it just right.

In addition to the usual bar menu of wine, beer and drinks, the Show Directors concocted signature Craft Cocktails for Paradise City. Stop by the bar in the Festival Dining Tent for a Manhattan Meets Northampton. The addition of a Bada Bing Cherry and a dash of local maple syrup takes a traditional Manhattan to a whole new place. Or try the Paradise City Cosmopolitan, a Madras, or keep it simple with a refreshing Gin & Tonic.

Kick back with one of these cocktails, relax with a yummy lunch and show your friends the artful contents of your shopping bags.

Enter to Win a Shopping Spree!

There’s always a winner, and it could be you. Visitors may stop by the shopping spree tables at any time during the show to place their entry for a drawing in one of the big baskets. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a $250 shopping spree that may be redeemed at an exhibitor’s booth at any Paradise City Arts Festival over the next year.

Tour Northampton and The Valley!

Deep in the heart of the Connecticut River Valley, surrounded by the gently rolling foothills of the Green Mountains and the Berkshires, lies Northampton, the hometown of the Paradise City Arts Festival. Come spring, the farms sport even rows of early corn, our world-famous asparagus grows like grass, gardens are in full bloom, and the bustling “#1 Small Arts Town in America” becomes the Memorial Day Weekend home to hundreds of the country’s most celebrated artists and makers.

After a full day at the Festival, take in the region’s marvelous museums, galleries, shops, restaurants and performance spaces. Stay in a country inn, ride the rail trail, and admire the gorgeous countryside. Get a weekend pass to Paradise City and come back every day so you don’t miss a thing.

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