Rain dampens Rossini Festival

Event to change sites next year

Participants walk with umbrellas as rain soaks Gay Street during the Knoxville Opera's Rossini Festival downtown Saturday, April 27, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Adam Brimer // Buy this photo

Participants walk with umbrellas as rain soaks Gay Street during the Knoxville Opera's Rossini Festival downtown Saturday, April 27, 2013. (ADAM BRIMER/NEWS SENTINEL)

Despite the rain, fun was still to be had at the 2013 Rossini Festival International Street Fair on Saturday.

“The entire event is a gift to the city, it’s a celebration of the performing arts,” said Michael Torano, marketing director for Knoxville Opera.

Presented by Knoxville Opera and Pilot Flying J, entertainment spread out onto five stages. There were nearly 190 booths from local and regional artisans and vendors, a wine tasting area and a family-friendly kids’ zone.

According to Torano, this year’s festival was the largest in Rossini’s 12 year history in terms of vendors and things to do.

The more brave weren’t going to let a little rain stop them from enjoying the day.

“You just have to go with the liquid sunshine,” said Diane Corey, owner of KC Leatherwerks.

Though she has been coming to the event for years, Saturday was Corey’s second time displaying at the festival.

“We are very fortunate to live in a city that has an opera, and this is a great way to support it,” said Corey.

This year is Rossini’s last year at it’s intertwined downtown location.

Having expanded over 12 blocks encompassing parts of Gay Street, Union Avenue, Wall Street, Market Square and Krutch Park, organizers for the ever-expanding festival knew it was time for a new home.

“Though the cooperation with the city of Knoxville, we are going to move into a location that’s bigger,” said Torano.

Next year the festival will take over the North and South bound lanes on Henley Street between Main Street and Clinch Avenue, he said. The new space is 30 percent larger than the current location.

Local opera fans are happy to see enthusiasm for the genre expand along with the festival.

“Opera is fun, and it’s not just something for the elite -- it’s for everyone,” said Boris VanDruff, performer and masters student in music at UT.

Organizers will close the celebration this afternoon with a performance of Rossini’s Cinderella at the Tennessee Theatre. Children dressed as princes and princesses will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with the show’s cast after the performance.

The next big fund-raising event on Knoxville Opera’s calendar is its annual croquet tournament in May.

For additional information on Knoxville Opera, or to purchase tickets to Sunday’s performance visit the website at http://www.knoxvilleopera.com.

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