By George Basler

The words of William Shakespeare will fill George W. Johnson Park in Endicott Aug. 17-20 when the Endicott Performing Arts Center hosts its annual Shakespeare in the Park program.

The program has two components. The first is free performances of a one-hour, abridged version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the EPAC Kids! youth group. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Just bring blankets or lawn chairs.

The second component is the Shakespeare Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday in the park. The festival will feature local vendors, artists and craftspeople selling their wares. Organizers are hoping for up to 40 participants, Joe Foti, EPAC’s executive director, said.

In past years, live performers — including musicians and puppeteers — have also been part of the festival. “It’s a great annual event,” Foti said. “Hopefully we’ll have great weather.”

EPAC first presented a Shakespeare outdoor play in 2004 and added the Sunday fest in 2017. The company is now working to rebuild the festival after the COVID-19 pandemic years. Dustin Hirthler, EPAC’s acting instructor for its children’s classes, is directing the abridged version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The festival is made possible with public funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. It is administered by The Earlville Opera House.