SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A popular performance arts festival in Scranton which normally brings thousands of people to the city was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers however, got creative and held a socially distanced event that showcased the best of the arts in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
The annual fall favorite Fringe Festival took on a different look this year as local artists got a chance to show off their talents a program called Under Glass.
“Fringe Under Glass is sort of a guided walking theatrical production,” Executive Director of Scranton Fringe Festival Conor Kelly O’Brien told Eyewitness News. “You see six, ten to fifteen minute performances in various windows in Downtown Scranton.”
O’Brien says most of the shows for the weekend sold out. To make it all happen, organizers used headphones given out to ticket holders.
“You wear these really cool headsets that allow you to immerse yourself fully in what’s happening behind the windows. Drown out what’s happening on the sidewalk and really get to connect with live theater, possibly for the first time in six months,” O’Brien said.
H. W. Yorkins worked on a mural on Lackawanna Avenue during the Fringe Under Glass experience. She says she thought the event was a brilliant idea since many artists faced financial challenges during the pandemic.
“It’s great. I’m so grateful and to have the safety and to be outside and to be able to produce this enormous piece for this city. It’s incredible and it means a lot and Fringe is in my heart,” Yorkins said.
Visitors to the city expressed how happy they were to come out for the experience in support of local artists.
“I’m so excited that Scranton thought to do this, to make sure it was able to continue because it’s so important right now to understand that the arts are here. And you know, everything is suffering so we wanna be able to support each other,” Elizabeth Powers of Swoyersville said.
Organizers say the arts are especially important during the pandemic.
“They say where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going. And they provide such an incredible wellness and mental health benefit that can never be underestimated especially during critical times like these,” O’Brien said.
The last Fringe Under Glass show was at 7 p.m. A guided walking dance party will be held in Scranton on Friday, October 2.
For more information, visit the Scranton Fringe website by clicking here.