ORANGE CITY—Onstage Orange City has been breaking up the midweek blues for 10 years.
The live entertainment series hosted by Orange City Arts brings free, live entertainment to Windmill Park at 7 p.m. every Wednesday. Performances span several genres of music and performance arts.
“It’s kind of a staple of the summer,” said Orange City Arts director Lindsay Bauer. “It began as kind of a community project to bring traffic downtown in Orange City and kind of have things to do during the week in the summer.”
Onstage Orange City started as an eight-week series but has grown to 12 shows. Bauer said about 80 percent of the funding for Onstage is through area business sponsorships.
It is rare to see the same act twice. The only repeat act this year is oldies rock group The Whitesidewalls. With the variety brought to the stage every week, there is something for everybody.
“We always have something new,” Bauer said. “We’ve kind of had it all. We’ve even had magic shows and clowns and physical comedy for everybody. If you don’t like it this week, you can come back next week and we’ll have something that you’re interested in.”
Shows started on June 5, and the last show will be Arts on Central on Aug. 21.
Arts on Central closes out the Onstage schedule annually with activities and displays from local artists. The event typically draws more than 2,000 people.
The new addition to Arts on Central this year is the Orange City Arts Battle of the Bands. There are openings for five area bands to compete for cash prizes. The bands are given a 30-minute set and the winner will be chosen by the public. Deadline for applications is July 31. Applications are available on the Orange City Arts website.
“One of the iconic activities of Arts on Central is a gigantic cube that gets set up in the middle of the streets and everybody who wants to gets to paint it,” Bauer said.
“It kind of ends up being this huge community art project that we’re able to showcase for that week or so,” the arts director continued. “We usually have face painting and a clown and a puppeteer. Almost all of it is free. We’re big believers in making it as accessible as possible.”
Bauer will be taking the stage to showcase her musical talents with the Orange City Area Community Band. The flutist will perform with the band on July 24. MOC-Floyd Valley High School band director Dan Mangold will lead the ensemble of about 30 members. The children’s bell choir, made up of kindergarten through fourth grade, will open the show.
Onstage Orange City and Orange City Arts’ regular-season entertainment offerings make the community stand out among small towns across the country, Bauer said.
“Few other communities are doing what we’re doing at the scope that we’re doing it,” she said. “When a community can come together and share an experience, we become stronger as a community; we love each other better; we understand the world around us better. It makes our economy stronger when people want to stay here in town and do things, and it also keeps people inspired and wanting to stay here.”