KENOSHA — Internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor will headline the HarborPark Jazz Rhythm & Blues Festival to celebrate the 15th anniversary event. The festival is planned for Saturday, Aug. 17, at HarborPark Celebration Place, 5501 Ring Road. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.

Taylor has been a groundbreaking force among the sax elite in the genre since his 1995 debut hit "On The Horn." After more than 10 albums of nonstop hit making, thousands of charismatic performances worldwide and years of setting new standards for the sonic possibilities of contemporary urban jazz, Taylor’s still got his antenna up and continues to be inspired by every vibe he hears that’s fresh, hip and edgy.

Now, with "Countdown," he’s blasting off into the next phase of his career.

Cooking Studio

The festival kicks off at 1:15 p.m. with the Cooking Studio, an interactive chef demonstration. To celebrate the 15th anniversary, the Mahone Fund is partnering with the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin to host the Best Chicken Cook-off Competition between the Kenosha Firefighters Local 414 and Racine Firefighters Local 321. Visitors will witness the battle for the best firehouse chefs in southeastern Wisconsin and taste some side dishes. Fans will also learn the tricks of the trade from their favorite Kenosha or Racine firefighter.

"We are proud to support this event and everything firefighters do for their communities," said Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin and chairman of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin Charitable Foundation. "There are a lot of great firehouse chefs, I cannot wait to see who will win the Cooking Studio crown.”

The head Chef for Racine's team is Sam Fucile and Kenosha’s head chef is Jeff Weidner. Each team will simultaneously prepare their top-secret picnic style recipes and one side dish. The contest will be judged entirely by audience participation. The winner will be announced after the Natty Nation performance. The runner up Firehouse team will prepare a special meal for the 2019 best firehouse chefs and their families at the Gateway Technical College Culinary Arts Program Kitchen (Racine campus).

Gateway Technical College will be on hand to showcase their firefighter technician and culinary arts programs.

Advocate Aurora Health Care Wellness Services will combine forces with the Cooking Studio and both firefighter unions to present nutritional cooking options and kickoff the Stop the Bleed Campaign. Kristen Bennington, a registered dietician, will be on hand to answer questions about nutrition, food preparation techniques and dietary tips. As part of their Wellness Services, Advocate Aurora will have a booth to highlight the Stop the Bleed initiative.

The music

The music kicks off with Natty Nation, a Madison-based reggae band, at 2:30 p.m., followed by the Milwaukee rhythm and blues band Christopher’s Project with Joe "the Crooner" Jordan at 4 p.m.

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Nora Jean Bruso, the Mississippi born, Chicago-based blues singer, will headline the blues slot on the Snapon stage at 5:45 p.m. Bruso's gritty-rough and calmingly sweet blend of Koko Taylor and Etta James is a highlight to her show-stopping live performance. Go to www.norajeanblues.com.

Arts & Crafts Village

After a five-year hiatus, the Arts & Crafts Village returns to the HarborPark festival, showcasing a broad mix of juried fine art, paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, handmade clothing, fine crafts and a lively art-making tent aimed at families with young children. Art pieces, prints and merchandise will be sold.

“The Kenosha Art Association is excited to partner with the Harbor Park Jazz Rhythm & Blues event to celebrate its 15th anniversary," said Pat Koesser, Kenosha Arts Association representative. "It’s a natural fit to align our organizations and bring quality music and creative arts and crafts vendors for the attendees to enjoy."

Raffles

Besides listening to music throughout the day, patrons will be able to purchase raffle tickets for the 50/50 raffle and participate in the silent auction and wine pull raffle, giving supporters the opportunity of winning top quality bottles of wines and prize packages.

“The HarborPark Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Festival has been providing a wonderfully diverse mixture of music in Kenosha for the past 15 years,” said Dennis DuChene, president of the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Drawing visitors from Milwaukee, Chicagoland and beyond, the event showcases our beautiful lakefront and highlights our community’s dedication to the arts and cultural activities. The return of the Arts & Crafts Village is a testament to that as well. We are proud to partner with the Mahone Foundation to have events such as this in our area.”

Tickets

General admission lawn seats are $25 in advance and $35 at the gate. The Texas Roadhouse VIP tickets are $85 (includes concert ticket, food, complimentary beer and wine). There is no charge for children ages 10 and younger. Tickets are available in Kenosha at Tenuta's Deli & Liquors, Jack Andrea's Cafe and Gifts and the Kenosha Community Foundation office, or go to www.mahonefund.org.

Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Mary Lou and Arthur F. Mahone Fund. Its mission is to provide educational opportunities for economically and academically deserving youth and to support healthy lifestyle initiatives in communities of color.

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