For nine straight days the sounds of music are being heard throughout Bethlehem, Pa. Musikfest, the annual multicultural music festival, opened yesterday and continues through next Sunday with more than 600 free performances.
Most of the festival performances and activities take place at the nine outdoor stages or platzes located in the city's historic district. Each site has its own theme. There's Americaplatz, featuring American music: jazz, bluegrass, the music of Broadway, blues and country-western. Festplatz is the spot to hear German bands (two of the bands came all the way from Austria) to waltz and dance the polka. You can sing the songs of Broadway or hear American and European folksongs at Liederplatz.
Nationally known performers fill the bill on the outdoor stage at Kunstplatz. Stanley Jordan, Eddie Rabbitt, the Original 5th Dimension, the Little River Band and Los Lobos are on the roster. Worldwide entertainment from Africa, the Caribbean, Italy, the Middle East, Appalachia and Europe is what you'll see at Volksplatz.
Activities at Familienplatz are geared to the whole family. There are rock bands, steel bands, sing-alongs, storytelling and magic shows. Children have their own arena at Kinderplatz, where activities include children's theater, a backyard circus, face painting and arts and crafts projects.
Clowns, magicians, jesters, ensembles, quartets and other street performers provide impromptu entertainment. Food vendors are everywhere. Each outdoor arena sells food that ties in with its theme, such as the international dishes available at Volksplatz. With the exception of the concert series at Lehigh University and the candlelight concerts at the Moravian College Center for Music and Art, all performances are free.
Festival hours are noon to 11 p.m. daily. Shuttle service will operate from the free parking areas at the Lehigh Shopping Center on Club Avenue and Union Boulevard, near the Minsi Trial Bridge on Stefko Boulevard; at South Fourth and Lynn streets and at Martin Tower at Eighth Avenue and Route 378.
For information, call (215) 861-0678.
* Once upon a time, country fairs were popular summer event and people would come from miles around. Today's fair is much like a three-ring circus with bands, midways and a host of activities. But for those who'd like to experience an old fashioned country fair, the Lucketts Fair is the place to go. It takes place Saturday and next Sunday in the village of Lucketts, Va., near Leesburg. You'll find pie-baking contests, old-fashioned games, butter churning and hand-cranked ice cream. Antique hunters can browse in a whole field full of antiques and curios and 100 mid-Atlantic craftspeople will set up their stalls on the shaded grounds.
Continuous entertainment will be provided by bluegrass and country musicians, cloggers, a barbershop quartet, a gospel group and others. A children's stage will feature clowns, musicians, a magician and a puppeteer. Children can also enjoy the farmyard zoo and rides on a hay wagon, a fire engine or a pony. A tour of log cabins on the back roads of the area is another attraction. There's an old steam engine exhibit, a photography exhibit and lots of good country food.
The hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine. Admission is $3, free for children under 6. The fair is on U.S. 15, eight miles north of Leesburg. For information, call (703) 777-8881.
* Williamsport, in Washington County, celebrates its past with a weekend of festivities during C&O Canal Days from Friday to next Sun- day. It begins on Friday with an ox roast at 5 p.m. and a street dance from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday will be filled with events from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be an arts and crafts market, food and entertainment in Byron Memorial Park; air boat rides, trolley rides and pony rides; and an open house at the C&O Museum.
At the C&O Canal, park rangers will discuss the canal's history, lead nature walks and offer an interpretive program on early canal life. Down by the canal you'll find live bluegrass music, a blacksmith demonstration and mules to pet. On Sunday the American Legion Post will serve breakfast from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
There are some admissions, but most activities are free. Take Route 11 south from Hagerstown to Williamsport. For information, call (301) 223-8800.
* The Charleston Sternwheel Regatta Festival is one of West Virginia's largest and liveliest festivals. In past years it has drawn close to a million people. Its 11-day run begins Friday and continues through Labor Day.
The list of attractions is endless. There's a grand festival parade on Saturday, a food festival called "A Taste of Charleston" on Sunday, an arts and crafts fair on Aug. 30 and a street fair on Aug. 31.