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A Bayport church is expanding its annual harvest festival to include a celebration of the arts that the whole family can enjoy.

Community members of all ages are invited to participate in the inaugural open mic night at People’s Congregational Church Saturday, Nov. 18.

Mary Binger, who’s organizing the event, said open mic nights are springing up across the country, but she hasn’t seen any in the area, except at bars.

“This will have a completely different feel, I hope,” she said. “I think of it as a blend of a talent show and a recital. It’s a kind of a family gathering where people say let’s sing or lets play something on the piano, and hopefully it’ll have just a really nice feel.”

Binger views the open mic event as “a way to connect all ages through creative expression,” and she encourages young and old to participate, no matter what their skill level.

“We’re really hoping that it’s going to be a fun, really inclusive, really supportive, multi-talent, multi-level open mic,” she said.

The church’s November harvest festival has been a tradition for more than a decade, featuring a craft and bake sale, silent auction and a popular all-you-can-eat soup and bread lunch. But this year the church wanted to expand the event.

Binger said People’s is known for its arts and music, so “it just made sense that we’d do something that involved the arts and open it up to the community.”

The idea has gone over well with area music teachers, Binger said — some have told her they’ve been looking for a casual venue for students to be able to prepare a piece and perform.

Whether it’s poetry recitation, singing, or playing an instrument, all are welcome to showcase their talents. Although Binger said it would be helpful to hear in advance from people who want to participate, she said signup will be available the night of the event as well.

The People’s Congregational Church harvest festival runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Lunch is available 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The open mic night begins at 5 p.m. The church is at 309 Third St. N., Bayport.

Info: peoplescongregational.org or 651-439-5667

Contact Jonathan Young at jonathan.young@ecm-inc.com

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