PortFest back after two-year pandemic delay

PortFest back after two-year pandemic delay
PortFest is returning to Port Washington on May 15. (Photo by John Nugent)

After a two-year delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, PortFest will be returning to promote the creative arts throughout the peninsula May 15.

The event, presented by HEARTS PW, was last held in May 2019, with more than 1,000 peninsula residents showing up at Schreiber High School’s Seeber Field to support the arts. The not-for-profit community organization uses fund-raisers and events, such as PortFest, to promote art, music and the creative spirit throughout the peninsula, primarily in its public schools.

Proceeds raised at the PortFest event fund HEARTS PW grants that advance the artistic endeavors of students across the Port Washington school district.

Eric Gewirtz, president of the organization’s Board of Directors, said it has been disheartening that the pandemic derailed the organization’s plans for two PortFests, but the temporary delay has made everyone appreciate the event even more.

“It’s certainly been disappointing that we haven’t been able to run the event, but it has become ever so meaningful that we feel we’re at the point now where we can safely gather our community outside,” Gewirtz said in a phone interview.

Gewirtz said the support from the community has been immense and that it will be wonderful to see Port Washington residents take part in various activities to promote the arts. Having student groups that plan to put on song and dance performances during PortFest, he said, will be providing them with an in-person experience to showcase their talents that the pandemic deprived them of.

“So many people have reached out and told us how excited they are to either attend the event or for their child to be performing on stage at PortFest,” Gewirtz said. “So many students have lost the opportunity to perform due to the pandemic.”

The event, which is free for all ages, will feature instrumental and choral ensembles including highlights from Schreiber Theater Company’s production of “The Addams Family,”  a preview of Curtains Up’s production of “Seussical The Musical” and a variety of other musicians. Other events include decorating picture frames, making light-up landetsn, making custom buttons, creating tie dye t-shirts and more. Tickets are required to participate in the arts and craft activities.

Gewirtz said being able to showcase the talent that makes up the Port Washington community and having families participate in various arts and crafts is something he and the entire organization is looking forward to.

“PortFest was created 10 years ago, purely to be a day to celebrate the creative spirit of our community and to showcase all of this incredible talent,” he said. “Knowing that we can come back to it now for the first time since 2019 is a testament to what we’ve had to endure and what we had to do to get where we are now.”

Gewirtz said more information will be available on the PortFest website: www.pwportfest.org before the event on May 15. The event will run from 12-4 p.m. at Seeber field.

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