Riverside kicks off its summer event season this weekend with a re-energized and expanded arts fair, which its organizers have dubbed Riverside Arts Weekend – or RAW.

On Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the downtown area on East Quincy Street and near the main train station on Bloomingbank Road will be transformed into a hub for the arts.

Now in its fourth year and officially a nonprofit organization whose sole goal is to produce the arts event each year, RAW will feature a juried art show featuring about 60 vendors on East Quincy Street. Painters, sculptors, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers from throughout the upper Midwest and more will have their artwork for sale throughout both days of the event.

In addition to the juried art fair, the Riverside Arts Center, which has become a key partner for the event, has invited local artists to be part of a separate exhibition of their artwork. The Riverside Arts Center will also be hosting a variety of children’s art activities throughout the fair in the lot of Jeff Auto, next to the Riverside Arts Center building on East Quincy Street.

Event organizers have also reached out to student artists at Hauser Junior High School this year.

“Artists in the show have ‘adopted’ student artists from Hauser,” said Jean Sussman, a Riverside trustee and one of the arts fair’s organizers since its inception. “The Hauser art pieces will be displayed in the booths of the professional artists. In case of rain, the Hauser student arts pieces will be displayed in the windows of the Arcade Building.”

According to Harjit Singh, art teacher at Hauser Junior High, about 15 artists have expressed interest in displaying the student work, which will not be for sale.

This year there will also be several local food vendors at the fair as well as a whole lineup of musical entertainment, including band performances from students at Hauser Junior High and Riverside-Brookfield High School, the Great Lakes Navy Jazz Band and more.

At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Riverside trustee and local historian Lonnie Sacchi will lead a free guided tour of the village. Local cartoonist Charlie Krebs will also have a display of his jazz-related work in the Arcade Building at the corner of Riverside Road and East Quincy Street and at 39 E. Quincy St.

Also new to the weekend this year is a fundraiser for the Riverside Arts Center on Saturday night. “Margaritas and Guitarristas” – a salsa music-themed soiree – begins at 6 p.m. at the Riverside train depot, 90 Bloomingbank Road. The event (tickets are $45 each) includes a Latin-inspired dinner by Soul Amici, music by Los Guitarristas, a beginners’ Latin dance lesson by Karen Marzec from Bellafit Health & Fitness Studio and a DJ.

Music lineup for RAW 2011

All performances will be staged in front of the Riverside train depot, 90 Bloomingbank Road.

Saturday, May 21

  • Noon: Hauser Junior High Jazz Band
  • 12:40 p.m.: Hauser Junior High 7/8 Grade Choir
  • 1:10 p.m.: Hauser Junior High 7/8 Grade Orchestra
  • 1:40 p.m.: Hauser Junior High 7/8 Grade Wind Ensemble
  • 2 p.m.: Riverside-Brookfield High School Jazz Band
  • 2:45 p.m.: Riverside-Brookfield High School Chamber Orchestra
  • 3:15 p.m.: Riverside-Brookfield High School Concert Chorale

Sunday, May 22

  • Noon: Great Lakes Navy Band
  • 1 p.m.: Acapella Fellas
  • 1:45 p.m.: Riverside Musicians Guild
  • 2:45 p.m.: Eric Olson Music