The arts descend again on Shafter this spring with the annual Colours Festival, which kicks off Thursday.
This annual bevy of events seems to have it all: a 5K run; screenings of silent movies, featuring live organ music; wine tasting and meet the artist event; car show; original theater; a youth filmmakers' workshop; spaghetti dinner; and more.
Larry Starrh, who has been with the festival since the beginning, continues his streak with his new show, “Dangerous Curves ... or Never Trust a Trombone Player.”
His inspiration was big band music.
"There are so many talented musicians here in the Kern community that I felt like it was a natural step to write a musical wrapped in that genre of music," he wrote in an email. "I love the old spy movies … the film noir, black-and-white Humphrey Bogart-style private detective stories."
The musical follows private detective Sam Stanwick (Loren Barton), who spends days trying to solve a wild and crazy mystery and his nights playing big band music with his buddies at the Button Down Club. When the beautiful Freda Van Gogh (Bethany Rowlee) convinces Sam to take her case, he ends up on the ride of his life.
"Curves" also features Keith Starrh, Cody Garcia, Brent Starrh, Cheryl Toews, Shana Starrh and Chyna Charbonneau. Providing musical accompaniment are Jeffery Rogers and Connie Sorensen on trumpets, Randy Toews and Ken Gross on trombones, David Payne, Cody Greenwell and Jesus Jaime on saxophones, Michelle Starrh on piano, Brian Boozer on drums and Larry Starrh on bass.
Another theatrical performance on tap is "An Evening with C.S. Lewis," which returns for the second year. Performer David Payne plays the famed British author who struggled with his faith for years after losing his mother to cancer as a boy. His journey to embrace Christianity, along with his well-known Narnia Chronicles and friendship with fellow author J.R.R. Tolkien are all part of the show.
Payne also stars in "Of Wardrobes and Rings," which delves further into the long friendship of Lewis and Tolkien. This show takes place at the Eagle & Child Pub in what was to be the authors' final meeting.
The celebration also extends into the spring with a Shafter symphony performance March 3 and Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" in May. Last year was the first time events continued past the main weekend and Starrh said the response was good.
"We have had tremendous feedback about extending events outside the weekend," he said. "The Shakespeare event in particular has grown each year and we think with Randy Messick at the helm the sky is the limit for its potential."
Starrh said he's been excited that the festival continues to resonate in the area.
"The community has responded to the art and beauty that the Colours festival has provided over the years with their money and time but also with their affirmation that transformed art is something important to make our community a better place."