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Fabio Mechetti will lift his baton in front of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra for the last time at 8 p.m. Saturday when he conducts Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center.

‘Fabio’s Finale’ and much more this week Downtown

By Max Marbut, Staff Writer

An era will come to an end this weekend at Jacoby Symphony Hall at the Times-Union Center when Fabio Mechetti will conduct his final two concerts Friday and Saturday as music director of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

“Fabio’s Finale” will be Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, which Mechetti conducted in 2001, his first season with the orchestra.

Mechetti’s successor will be announced before the opening of the 2014-15 season in September.

For those more into “Midnight Train to Georgia” than Mahler, Gladys Knight will perform at 8 p.m. Friday across the hall in the Moran Theater at the Times-Union Center.

The concert by Knight, a six-time Grammy Award-winner and recipient of the BET Lifetime Achievement Award, is presented by the Jacksonville Symphony Association.

For ticket information for the symphony or Knight, visit jaxsymphony.org.

At the Prime Osborn Convention Center, the second annual Ideas & Inspiration Home Show opens Friday and continues through Sunday.

Hillary Carpenter, show coordinator, said the second edition builds on what was popular with guests when the event debuted last year, combining a traditional home improvement exhibition with art, crafts and live music.

“It’s a home show and an arts festival and we have many more artists and arts vendors at the show this year,” she said.

For show hours and ticket information, visit ideasandinspirationhomeshow.com.

Another repeat performance Downtown, the second annual World Arts Film Festival, opens Thursday at the Main Library Conference Center. More than 100 short films are scheduled to be screened over three days.

Festival spokeswoman Laurie Morey said the Hicks Auditorium provides a 300-seat screening room with digital projection equipment, which suits the film festival atmosphere.

Last year, the festival was headquartered at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, the Main Library’s next-door neighbor. The Conference Center offers more flexible space for panel discussions and other festival elements while keeping the event in the urban neighborhood.

“We want to bring more activity Downtown. It has so much potential to be a great venue. We think the Conference Center is underutilized and it’s a wonderful facility,” said Morey.

For the screening schedule and ticket information, visit worldartsfilmfestival.org.

What’s billed as the largest beer festival in Northeast Florida, the sixth annual Jacksonville Craft & Import Beer Festival will open the taps at 6 p.m. Friday at Veterans Memorial Arena.

Forty-five brewmasters will serve 350 of their favorite recipes to 2,500 attendees, which is 2,000 fewer than last year to ensure there will be enough samples for all ticket holders.

Visit beerfestjax.com for details and ticket availability.

Also Friday, flamenco-pop group from France, the Gipsy Kings, will take the stage at 8 p.m. in the Florida Theatre, followed at 8 p.m. Saturday by jazz trumpet player Chris Botti, who has performed at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Visit floridatheatre.com for ticket information.

Jacksonville’s own Rion Page, who finished fifth in the third season of “The X Factor,” will perform with Jamie Davis at 8 p.m. Friday at the Jacksonville Landing.

The Lyme in the South Music Fest, a benefit concert to raise awareness of tick-borne illness, is scheduled from 3-9 p.m. Saturday at River City Brewing Co. along the Southbank. It’s headlined by Les Stroud, solo star of the Survivorman cable television reality series and Pat DiNizio from The Smithereens. Advance tickets are available at lymeinthesouth.com.

Across the St. Johns River, the third annual Jax Truckies Food Truck Championship will surround the Landing beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. More than 30 trucks are signed up to compete, with proceeds to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida.

For fans of the Arena Football League, the Jacksonville Sharks host the Orlando Predators at 7 p.m. Saturday on Sea Best Field at Veterans Memorial Arena. Ticket information at jaxsharks.com.

The weekend wraps up with the fifth annual Rock on the River at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Landing. This year’s lineup includes Fits and the Tantrums, Sleeper Agent, Kongos, Wild Club and Orwells. The free concert is sponsored by X102.9-FM.

Add it all up – it’s quite a warm-up for the May 22-25 Jacksonville Jazz Festival presented by AARP.

mmarbut@baileypub.com

(904) 356-2466

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