DeaFestival '98 took over two years of planning, organizing, directing, creating, contracting, and meetings by the entire KCDHH staff and many other individuals - all of which came to know ONE VISION - A showcase of American Sign Language, Deaf Culture and Deaf Art. The festival was designed to bring the hearing community a sample of the diverse talents of deaf artists.
September 6, 1998 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., one can't help but notice the DeaFestival banners. From the airport, down Jefferson and Main streets, all the way to the Kentucky Center, it was evidence that DeaFestival-Kentucky had arrived in Louisville. The Kentucky Center's CEO stated, "This was the nicest job of 'bannering' the city for an event that I have ever seen." Walking up the steps and through the front doors of the Kentucky Center
a sea of hands extended greetings. One of the production managers of the Kentucky Center was heard to say, "I walked into the lobby packed with people, obviously having a wonderful conversation between themselves, and yet I could hear myself speaking! An amazing experience for a 'sound man'!"
The BellSouth technology exhibit displayed cutting-edge telecommunications technology. BellSouth is the founding sponsor of DeaFestival and sponsored the "Hands Across The World" children's tent. Interactive Video Conferencing with Bernard Bragg in California and Peter Cook, the Emcee of the Children's tent was spectacular. Other guests such as Linda Bove and CJ Jones dazzled the children along with hands-on activites. A BellSouth photographer captured the days events and some of the photographs was used on the cover of the BellSouth Text Telephone Directory for 1999. This is just another way of putting DeaFestival-Kentucky on the map and out in front!
Culture and Traditions had storytellers, poets, comedians, clowns and teachers who took us on journey toward understanding American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. They taught us what it means to share common experiences of being a deaf or hard of hearing person, regardless of our diversities, and how we can strengthen and empower ourselves as a people.
SpotLights... the Adult program, in the elegant Bomhard Theatre, was an exciting, professional, theatrical event! One group of artists after another packed the theatre with anxious spectators. Tony Award winner, Phyllis Frelich, hosted SpotLights... Here we saw dance, drama, comedy, magic and expressive artistry, all performed with professional sound and lights. Where else could you see this caliber of professional artistry for free?
"HandCrafted" was set up outside the Kentucky Center on the Great Lawn. A colorful array of tents and booths displayed the Visual Artists and Exhibitors work. The hand-crafted items showed the unique talents of this diverse population and included beautiful stained glass, jewelry, oil paintings, photographs, Native American artwork, quilts, wall hangings, sculptures, carvings, folkart and ceramics. It was a shoppers paradise, to be sure! Those on a search for information were also satisfied; the exhibitors were willing to explain their services and give a hands-on demonstration of what their organization offered.
The sweltering heat made us glad the food vendors were close by. What a day for shaved ice or a cold pop! Can you believe that the DeaFestival '98 took place on the HOTTEST day of the year, when the thermometer registered ninety-seven with a heat index of 100 degrees! The children seemed to be the wisest of all, scampering and splashing in the city fountain, on such a picture perfect, festive summer day.
The Mayor's office was quoted as saying. "The City of Louisville was truly amazed by DeaFestival '98. For the first time a Top 40 Festival created a partnership, a natural flow of theatre, visual artistry, and outdoor festival activities." Louisville was privileged to co-host this festival and estimates attendance at 7,000 people based on prior knowledge of the capacity of the Belvedere and estimated occupation of the Kentucky Center lobby and Bomhard Theatre during the festivities.
As we all know, the sponsors and volunteers made all the fun and entertainment of DeaFestival possible. Therefore, we want to express appreciation once again for your support and congratulate each of you for a job well done!