It's fall Arts Walk weekend, one of the very best weekends to be in South Sound. Not only are their nearly 100 local businesses displaying amazing art, many of the area's arts organization also plan their concerts and shows for this weekend as well (although I always question the wisdom of doing so). Check out these first-rate options:
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY -- A little thing called ARTS WALK: The free twice-yearly festival’s fall outing features a lively mix of visual and performing arts at 93 downtown businesses and on the streets of Olympia. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday throughout downtown Olympia. For more information, call 360-753-8380 or go to olympiawa.gov/artswalk. The official maps and listings of venues and artists are available at participating businesses and at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, and Olympia City Hall, 601 Fourth Ave. E. But you also should pick up Friday's Olympian. The Weekend section is chock full of Arts Walk information, including a profile of cover artist Chris Maynard, a feature on the knitted bridge cozy planned for the Fourth Avenue Bridge, and a rundown of some of the must-see events.
FRIDAY -- Country crooners: LONESTAR has produced nine singles on the Hot Country Songs chart in the last decade, including hits like “No News,” “Come Cryin’ to Me,” “Amazed” and “Smile.” They are now touring with their new album “Life as We Know It.” See them at 8 p.m. Friday at Lucky Eagle Casino, 12888 188th Ave. SW, Rochester. Tickets are $31-$65 and are available through Ticketmaster.
SATURDAY -- Almost live, definitely funny: It’s comedy night at The Royal Lounge, 311 Capitol Way N, with JOHN KEISTER, known for his work on the regional TV comedy shows “Almost Live” and “The 206.” Joining him will be James Heneghen and Barbara Sehr for the 8:30 p.m. show Saturday. Come get your laugh on at this 21-and-older show. Tickets are $15 at the door only. Call 360-705-0760 for details.
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SATURDAY AND SUNDAY -- Come out of your shell: It’s time to grub down on the popular bivalve molluscs at the annual OYSTERFEST. With wines, microbrews, live music and lots of activities, the festival is home to the WEST COAST OYSTER SHUCKING CHAMPIONSHIPS and is the state’s official seafood festival. Hosted by the Shelton Skookum Rotary Fund Foundation, it features a popular cook-off, hands-on water quality exhibits, and a giant food pavilion with nearly 100 items on the menu. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for a single day or $10 for both days. Go to oysterfest.org for details.
SUNDAY -- Folk-flavored orchestra: Join the OLYMPIA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA and guest violinist Rebecca Anderson when they present “FROM THE HEART OF THE COUNTRYSIDE.” The 7 p.m. concert Sunday will feature Sibelius’ Karelia Suite, Op. 11; Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances; Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending; Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen; and Copland’s Appalachian Spring. Tickets for the concert at the Washington Center for Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, are $25-$55 plus a $3 service fee. Call 360-753-8586 for details.
SUNDAY -- Melting pot: Travel around the world at one location this weekend and celebrate the community’s diversity at the INTERNATIONAL BLOCK PARTY at Capital Christian Center, 4413 Martin Way E., Lacey. Enjoy dance performances representing different cultures, sample food from around the world, and join in family activities. It’s 2-5 p.m. Sunday and admission is free. The day’s festivities support the Thurston County Police Athletic League, StandUp For Kids, Senior Services For South Sound and Homes 4 Wounded Heroes. For more information, call 360-943-4391.
FRIDAY THROUGH SUNDAY -- Live, from Olympia:
Journey to the land of Narnia when the Olympia Family Theater presents “THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE,” opening Friday at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St. SE, Olympia. The classic tale of a magical place that has been ruled too long by the White Witch has showtimes of 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $10-$16. Call 360-753-8586 for more information.
Meanwhile, Harlequin Productions opens “HENRY V,” the Shakespearean history play about a young king who ascends the British throne during the Hundred Years’ War. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the State Theater, 202 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia. Tickets are $32 general admission, $28 for seniors and military, $20 for students. Discounted rush tickets are available a half-hour prior to curtain. For more information, call 360-786-0151 or harlequinproductions.org.