The Roanoke Marginal Arts Festival decided not to take chances this year.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be odd, bizarre, cutting-edge art experiences mixed into the festivities. It’s the weather they don’t want to gamble on.
For the past four years, the festival has tied its schedule to Mardi Gras, which meant it sometimes has taken place in the heart of winter. Founder Brian Counihan counts his blessings that the colorful and strange Marginal Arts Parade through downtown Roanoke has never been snowed out.
“We dodged a bullet every year,” said Roanoke artist Ralph Eaton, another of the festival’s organizers. So the artists running the festival decided to move it back a few weeks. (Eaton joked that he wished it could be held April Fool’s Day.)
The lineup this year includes an appearance from the Society for Creative Anachronism, famous for wearing medieval garb and battling with rattan swords, a contest to write a novel in 48 hours, experimental poetry, experimental art, experimental theater, and workshops that might help you understand what all these experiments are getting at. “We have a lot of professional artists involved,” Counihan said.
Of course there’s the parade at noon March 30 and the absurdist street carnival that immediately follows. This year, the festival ends with Vaudeville Night, a performance at the June M. McBroom Theater in Community High School at 302 Campbell Ave. S.E. Themes for the festival include Easter eggs, the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, and lucha libre, the sport of Mexican professional wrestling.