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Performances to highlight Suwanee's Arts in the Park

SUWANEE -- In its third year, Arts in the Park will have its largest group of artists, and its theme will have a performance angle to it.

The event will host 50 artists -- the most ever -- including 48 who will compete in a juried competition for $1,250 in cash prizes. Performances from the Peach State Opera called "Operatizer," and a Cirque de Soleil-like performance from the Imperial OPA Circus will add to the visual arts on display, said Patty Wessels, vice president of the North Gwinnett Arts Association. The event, themed "Live Your Life in Art!" will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Town Center Park. Seven food vendors will also be on hand.

This year's SculpTour exhibit will also be unveiled at the event. SculpTour includes 15 pieces from artists in Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, West Virginia, Louisiana, Missouri and New York.

The Peach State Opera, booked by Kathy Meenach, is a touring company that combines vocal and musicianship with portable stages, and audience-friendly productions.

"These are mini portions of opera to introduce an artsy experience that most folks in the Greater Northern Metro Atlanta may never have experienced," Wessels said.

Last year's theme was "the art of making art," a nod to hands-on experiences and demonstrations.

In the performance-themed event this year, Wessels said the event hopes to "introduce something to people they don't normally see."

"I hope they get to see that arts can be fun," Wessels said. "It can include everybody, from all ages."Donna Wilkes spearheaded the upscale circus idea, Wessells said, and the lineup of acts includes Zephyr Music, a 15-piece orchestra, a strolling magician, the Atlanta Harmony Celebration, which is a group of female barbershop singers and guitarist and song writer Sonny Cheatham.

The Imperial OPA Circus features jugglers, fire eaters, an aerial acrobat performer, ballet dancer, stilts walker, unicycles and a paper mache do-do bird.

The event will also have a cut-out of the face of Munch's "Scream" and a group art project called the Pollock Painting Canvas.

The food vendors will be Big Boy Smoking BBQ, Dunwoody Cafe, Taste of Jamaica, Fire on the Stone (pizza), C & C Concessions (sorbet), Hobie Pop Kettle Corn, Petey's All Around Town and Jo Jo's Lemonade.