Annual event offers free cultural concerts

Unseasonably brisk temperatures did not deter people from attending the start of Sunday A’Fair’s 26th season this past Sunday. Sunday A'Fair is a compilation of local music, art and food set in Civic Center Park in downtown Scottsdale, also known as Old Town Scottsdale.

The free admission attracts young adults, playful children with their families and old sweethearts. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets instead of watching in the cold blades of grass during the four-hour events.

The heart of Sunday A’Fair takes place in a grassy area with tall, leafy trees. Booths belonging to food vendors and art merchants encircle the sunlight-dappled location. Some of the people running the booths occasionally pause to listen to the eclectic music drift in the large area.

The 26th season kicked off with the lively Marty & The Party Band. The quartet consisted of a bassist, a keyboardist, a drummer and a raspy-voiced lead singer adorned with a guitar. The lead singer also prepared for additional roles; a saxophone and violin rested by his microphone stand.

A young girl situated by the stage helped welcome them by chasing iridescent bubbles floating out of a bubble-blowing machine. Funky jazz wafted throughout the park in the beginning of the set. People of various ages bundled up in heavy winter clothes danced in the frigid air. The blissful sounds of nearby water fountains added their own touch to the concert.

The kind and grinning middle-aged musicians emanated warmth during their set. A dark cowboy hat sat amid curly black hair on the lead singer. The accompanying musicians dressed in cowboy attire as well.

Marty & The Party Band received requests from the audience that differed in musical taste. They boasted talent that enabled them to easily perform several genres. Some people were even spoken to by name, implying the presence of loyalty in the crowd.

Their rendition of “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard allowed for the lead singer to sing in a style reminiscent of Elvis Presley. The audience received chills listening to the gentle crooning supplemented by the keyboardist and bassist.

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd was played next by request, drawing enthusiastic cries from the crowd. Those who were comfortable enough to sing along tried to imitate Johnny Van Zant’s signature twang with the lead singer.

Energy generated from the popular southern rock song flowed into a slower tempo for “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Audience members moved by the bittersweet song swayed to the song.

Later on, flamenco band Tesoro lifted spirits and spiced up the last two hours of the show. More people begin to flock to the stage to listen to the catchy sounds.

The free admission and close proximity to ASU may be appealing to students tight on cash seeking entertainment.

RastaFarmers and the Jan Sandwich Band will be featured next Sunday, Jan. 20 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.


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