Busker Festival to return to downtown Lawrence

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Lawrence’s massive three-day celebration of performing artists, magicians, comedians, musicians and much more returns to downtown this weekend.

The 16th Lawrence Busker Festival fun kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, May 24, and the final performance that night starts at 10:30 p.m.

On Saturday morning, entries will begin lining up for the Art Tougeau parade at 10:30 a.m., and the parade begins at noon. It will start at 11th and Massachusetts and go north to Seventh and Massachusetts, then turn and continue back to the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

Busker Festival activities resume at 1 p.m. Saturday, and final performances of the night begin at 9 p.m. The festival picks up again with shows starting at 1 p.m. Sunday, and the last show begins at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Billy Kidd, an award-winning sleight of hand magician from the United Kingdom, will make her Busker Festival debut this year. Kidd’s appearance is sponsored by a Lawrence favorite, Mama Lou Strongwoman, who has retired from the street.

“Her sly and simple way will have you guessing as she literally creates magic out of thin air,” according to the Busker Festival website. “Billy will have you believing anything is possible and will probably happen when she is performing this stupendous street magic show.”

Kidd will have multiple performances on all three days of the festival.

Some local favorites returning this year include aerial artists Voler Thieves of Flight, hula hoop artist Lisa Lottie and fire dancers Tricks of the Light.

There will be multiple stages between the 700 and 800 blocks of New Hampshire and Massachusetts streets, and along Eighth Street between Massachusetts and Rhode Island streets.

The festival is free to attend, but performers rely on their audiences’ support to make a living.

Food vendors will include the Pretzel-y Truck, Rainbow Ice, Barbwire Barbecue, The Corn Dog Company, Scimeca’s Italian Sausage, Sugar Daddy’s Lemonade, according to the festival’s Facebook page. There will be lots of arts and crafts vendors, as well.

See a complete lineup of the schedule and a map of venues at this link. Read up on the artists at this link.

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