ELKHART — Organizers on Sunday said they were thrilled with the feedback they received this year from visitors and musicians alike during the 32nd annual Elkhart Jazz Festival.

“We talked to so many people who said this was just the best festival we’ve ever had, and some of them have been coming for years,” festival co-chairman Kurt Janowsky said. “They just had nothing but praise.”

Good weather helped, fellow chairman Ben Decker said. 

“I think a lot of people came out Friday not sure about how the weather would be Saturday, but then the weather Saturday was great too,” Decker said. “We talked to a lot of people who said they came to see a headliner one day and really enjoyed it, then decided to stay.”

Sunshine and temperatures in the low 80s provided nice conditions Sunday for the final day of the event.

Performers on the free outdoor stages on either end of Main Street included Terry & the Pirates, the Ben Davis Quartet and the Dave Bennett Quartet. Acts at indoor venues included the Sofia Goodman Group, the Notre Dame Faculty Trio and Red Lehr’s Powerhouse Five. 

Sunday’s headliner, the United States Air Force Airmen of Note, was the only free concert held inside the Lerner Theatre. Created in 1950 to continue the tradition of Maj. Glenn Miller’s Army Air Force Band, the band consists of 18 active-duty musicians. 

Other headliners over the weekend included Gregory Porter, Davina & the Vagabonds and the Hot Sardines.

In all, the festival showcased more than 100 performers this year in addition to two fireworks shows, food vendors and other activities on the Civic Plaza. The three-day celebration was expected to draw an audience of more than 15,000.

Decker and Janowsky said ticket sales were up this year, and even the turnout for free events appeared to have hit new highs, a reflection of the enthusiasm among musicians, out-of-towners and community members alike. 

“This is becoming known as the festival of choice not just in the region but across the Midwest and beyond,” Janowsky said.

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