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VIA THE GAZETTE:

Water and electronics usually don’t mix but the two are thriving at National Harbor, the retail, entertainment and residential landmark on the Potomac River.

The waterfront venue is growing as a destination for weekly entertainment events, such as Harborfest, which organizers hope will become an annual tradition.

The first Harborfest features rock bands Candlebox and Lifehouse and funk artist George Clinton as headliners with bands Thriving Ivory, Alex Band of the Calling, BOB, Dreaming of Eden, Redshift and John Lusky also in the line up. Kool Productions Inc., headed by Ray Mertz, is organizing the event.

Kool Productions Inc. brought Disney’s High School Musical tour to the National Harbor July 17 and July 18 and is also planning a Celtic Festival to be held Sept. 12.

Mertz continues to build on bringing in big acts to the waterfront, after getting the 3 Doors Down concert — which was originally scheduled for Waldorf’s Regency Furniture Stadium — moved to National Harbor a week before the Aug. 14 show.

“We are certainly committed to [continue] bringing in national artists to do concert events there,” Mertz said. “We want to continue with the movie series and we’ll probably look at maybe smaller more diversified artists, evening event type of stuff.”

Kool Productions Inc., also stages free Tuesday and Sunday night movies. Tuesdays are for classic movies while Sundays are for family flicks, Mertz said. Movies may wrap up in October where a Munsters TV show marathon is scheduled for Halloween, he added.

“We’ve done about six or seven of them now,” Mertz said. “People are starting to recognize it because of the consistency. They bring the chairs, see the movie, eat some popcorn and peanuts.”

The Metropolitan International Jazz Festival will toot its horn at Parcel 6 of the National Harbor waterfront after previously setting up camp at Upper Marlboro’s Show Place Arena. Bowie-based Shortcake Entertainment Group will bring in the music. They also have staged free weekly jazz concerts on Friday nights.

Being in the “backyard of Prince George’s County” and on the water is what makes this event — the third — unique, said Emmett Roberts, Shortcake Entertainment Group CEO.

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