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The first-ever Fifth Street Food Fest will celebrate the food and cultures of Sunbury on Friday evening along Fifth Street, from Market to Chestnut, in front of the Degenstein Community Library.

“It’s an opportunity for our artists and musicians, dancers and storytellers to come out and share their talents,” said Melissa Rowse, library director at Degenstein. “Also a change for people to try different foods. We’re hoping to expand to more ethnic foods in the future.”

Among the entertainers will be the Country Twirlers Square Dance Club, Stan and the Gang band, Ben “the library guy” Shemory’s singalong, Iron Ukulele Benders, Tim Burns and two drumming acts.

“I would strongly recommend everyone to come just to see the African Drummers and the Taiko Japanese Drum,” Rowse said. “Uri Kline, a professor at Lycoming College, is bringing his entire percussion ensemble with him. This is something you usually only see in large cities. This is going to be neat.”

Hope W. Kopf explained that in African drumming, two types of drums are used.

“The djembes are the drums Americans like because they make a lot of noise,” Kopf said. “The dununs come in three sizes. They’re melody instruments.”

Audiences respond to the feeling of the percussion in their bodies.

“You feel the rhythm,” Kopf said. “It’s a very moving kind of drumming.”

Food will be provided by When Pigs Fly Food Truck, with smoked barbecue and more, and The Hotel Edison, which will sell Spanish skewers called pinchos. Miller Concessions will offer frozen drinks, home brewed lemonade, orangeade and sausage rolls. The Cookie Dude will sell his signature cookies with zany names — Zigzag Zamboni or Temple of Yum, anyone?

Going against the usual festival format, all performances will be going on simultaneously.

"It’s unique. You’re not just sitting with your chair watching the show. You can actually just stroll along Fifth Street seeing everything,” Rowse said. “The performers will take breaks and interact with the audience.”

Also attending the Fifth Street Fest will be Sunbury Together, an interfaith clergy group that will be located in front of Zion Lutheran Church. The church has undergone restorations recently, and Rev. Richard Fangman, pastor of the church, will be giving tours for all who are interested.

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