Evening events include a bonfire with free s’mores from 7-8:30 p.m. tonight at the parking lot across from the Park Place Hotel and laser light shows Saturday night on Front Street at 7:45 and 9 p.m.
Only the 200 block of Front will be closed to traffic during the festival. Other city streets will remain open.
“We’re trying to incorporate the best parts of the WOW Fest and the Comedy Festival, which has bigger regional draw because of the headline comedians who will be here,” said Trever Tkach, National Cherry Festival executive director.
The comedy festival opened Thursday with shows by Colin Quinn and Kathleen Madigan and will run through Sunday with 30 comedians performing at five venues: the State Theatre, City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, Inside Outside Gallery and Horizon Books.
Today’s comedians include Robert Wuhl doing a live version of his smash HBO hit, “Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl.”
One of the weekend highlights is a special performance by renowned standup comedian Dick Gregory at 6 p.m. Saturday at the City Opera House. He will be awarded the TC Comedy Fest Legends Award at the show. Gregory’s comedy and social activism, starting in the 1950s, made history and broke barriers during the civil rights and anti-Vietnam War eras. He also went on several hunger strikes. A vegetarian and nutritional consultant, Gregory has been an advocate in the health food industry for a raw fruit and vegetable diet.
Saturday’s shows also include a family-friendly interactive comedy act — ComedySportz: Improv for All — billed by festival organizers as a “uniquely clean, fast-paced and positive comedy show for the entire family.” Shows are scheduled for 1 and 3:30 p.m. at the City Opera House, $5 for kids and $10 adults.
Festival tickets range from 25 cents for the 10 a.m. Saturday kids matinee of “Despicable Me,” and from $5 to $35 for adult comedy acts. A full program of comedy shows, ticket costs and free events is available online at www.wintercomedy.org.