ELKHART — Light rain showers and gray clouds may have scared away a few people, but downtown came alive Friday evening, June 20, with horns blowing, guitars strumming and feet tapping for the first day of the 27th annual Elkhart Jazz Festival.
Because of bad weather, organizers were forced to cancel a Mardi Gras-themed parade that was supposed to open the weekend music festival. Elkhart native Nathan Palmer, a football player with the Denver Broncos, lifted the crowds spirits by singing the national anthem, and with four simple words, mayor Dick Moore got things rolling.
"Let the music begin," Moore told the crowd at the Civic Plaza stage on Main Street.
Jazz artists entertained music fans at six stages scattered throughout downtown, and Friday night headliner Preservation Hall Jazz Band brought New Orleans flavor to the Lerner Theatre.
The festival will continue at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 21, with performances by high school jazz bands and more than a dozen renowned jazz artists. Singer Aaron Neville will play at 8 p.m. at the Lerner Theatre.
The festival ends Sunday, June 22, with concerts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fourplay will take the stage at 1 p.m. at the Lerner.