This weekend’s Waco Cultural Arts Festival will do what local fall foliage rarely does: bring an early fall splash of color to Indian Spring Park.

It’s more than that, of course. There’s live music, dance, poetry and prose, an artist marketplace, science demonstrations and more during the three days of the festival’s six component festivals. And much of the activities take place in the Waco Convention Center across University Parks Drive from the park, where the WordFest, {254} Dance-Fest, FilmFest and ScienceFest take place.

For many, particularly Waco families, the Cultural Arts Fest means the bright colors seen in painting, mask making, puppets, face painting and more that comprise many of the kid-oriented activities.

The threat of rain dampened turnout at last year’s festival to about 9,000 people, but the prospect of fair weather has festival director Doreen Ravenscroft optimistic about attendance and participation.

The festival is best known for its Arts For All hands-on art projects open to kids (but also adults) contained, as is the Artist Marketplace with its 18 artists, under the ArtsFest umbrella, but the festival also features a MusicFest, WordFest, {254} Dance-Fest, FilmFest and ScienceFest.

Waco live music advocates Keep Waco Loud is coordinating this year’s MusicFest, supplementing Austin acts The Peterson Brothers, who perform Friday night, and Beto and the Fairlanes, who play Saturday, with a lineup of local bands and performers.

That local lineup features The Crew, Brazos Brothers and D-Soul Davis on Friday; The Standards, John Dempsy and the Honeybees, Far From Reach, Kings Country, Tea Aguilar and $5 Shake on Saturday, with a local dance group segment from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; and a Sunday afternoon hip-hop “mashup” with DJ Precyse, TIRED, Pirscription & Friends, Zet Zero and Kam KT.

“We’ve not done this before,” said Ravenscroft of the Sunday afternoon event.

“We’re really excited about our partnership with Keep Waco Loud.”

The {254} Dance-Fest is shortened to a day this year with two performances on Saturday.

A family show will be presented at noon with 16 solo dancers and companies from Waco and across Texas performing at 6 p.m.

Dallas dancer Bhuvana Venkatraman will lead an Indian dance storytelling workshop at 10 a.m. with Joshua Peugh, artistic director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, conducting one on contemporary dance at 2 p.m.

WordFest activities extend Friday through Sunday, with open mic poetry readings each day, a reading by featured poet Loretta Diane Walker Saturday afternoon, a poetry performance by Michael Guinn on Sunday and a WordFest anthology with more than 100 entries.

This year’s FilmFest-Celebration Africa, which annually showcases films from Africa, will screen the movies “Burkinabé Bounty,” a story about the Burkinabé people working toward economic and cultural independence; “Liyana,” an animated documentary created by orphans in Swaziland; and the documentary “The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind,” about a Malawi native who used science to build a windmill and save his village.

ScienceFest will feature presentations and demonstrations from local secondary school, collegiate and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs in the Waco Convention Center.

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