MANATEE -- Surveys of Parrish residents show that they want more family events, more concerts, and more festivals.
The inaugural Music and Art By the Train, set for 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday should more than fill the bill.
It's the largest festival ever undertaken by the Parrish Arts Council and could be the prototype for future events, said council president Norma Kennedy.
"Hang on by the seat of your pants. It's going really well," Kennedy said of preparations for the festival at 12210 83rd St., Parrish.
Festival-goers will be treated to musical performances by bluegrass band Chasing Blue from Boston, Mass., Kim Betts & the Gamble Creek Band, and the Buffalo Creek Middle School Jazz Band. Kim Betts is the daughter of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dickie Betts, who lived for many years in Parrish and who now resides in Sarasota County.
At the same time, several artists will be painting scenes on the railroad museum grounds, and others will be displaying and selling their paintings, photographs and other art work, Kennedy said.
Making the festival unique is that the Florida Railroad Museum will be running its regular Saturday trains to Willow and back.
"This festival is answering the community's desire for more entertainment events," said Cookie Jordan.
Jerri Phillips is coordinating the Parrish En Plein Air event -- painting in open air -- and said she hopes other artists will participate and will connect with the Parrish art community.
"We welcome any artist, sculptor or photographer to contact us. We want to get connected," Phillips said. "I think the festival is great. It's just what Parrish needs. The whole idea is to bring arts and culture to Parrish."
Tickets to the fest are available at the gate for $5 per person. There is no charge for admission for children 12 and younger."
The Railroad Museum earlier this year purchased its 11-acre site for $550,000 and would eventually like to build a depot that could double as a community center there.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.