Ray Fulcher will headline the Amp The Alley Presents series Thursday to open the third Aiken City Limits Music Festival.

Music will begin at 6 p.m., and Fulcher will go on stage at 8 p.m.

“Ray Fulcher is an up-and-coming country music star,” said Katy Lipscomb, the founder of the festival.

Mellow Mushroom in The Alley is offering VIP seating for Fulcher's performance for a $25 cover.

Lipscomb said the Aiken City Limits Music Festival is a way to “grow Aiken's music scene.”

“Aiken has an awesome music scene, and we're working together to make it larger and more branded,” she said.

Most events are free, but some require tickets, Lipscomb said.

Former Allman Brothers Band member Jack Pearson will perform with his band at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Newberry Hall. Tickets are $40 a piece. For tickets, visit the Aiken City Limits Music Festival's Facebook page.

Also on Friday, Garden City Jazz and the Citizens Park Conference Center will present a #JazzFriday concert.

“There also will be bands, dinner specials and buskers, which are street performers, all around town on Friday night,” Lipscomb said.

On Saturday, three stage areas will feature music, vendors and other activities: New Moon Cafe Stage, the Highfields Event Center and The Alley Stage.

The schedule for the New Moon Stage, presented by the STARR Community, is as follows:

• 11 a.m.-11:45 a.m. - A Gathering of HOTT Mamas

• Noon-3:15 p.m. - Gospel, featuring The Wallaces, The Mighty Flames of Calvary, Come Forth, A Dance Consortium and the Rev. Billy Smith

• 3:30 p.m.- 4 p.m. - Victory Productions Networking

• 4:05 p.m. - #GroundZero: A Matter of W.A.R., featuring Sa Jules, Saseddrick Washington, LocCi Marie, Doc Bangerz, Gorganus, Tremell Reese, Ms Mai Knowledge, Christopher Emanuel, Dapper Savage, Tone Jones, Mar-Sui, JuJuondabeatbroski and “CrunkNasty.”

“The New Moon Stage is bringing some new diversity to the Aiken City Limits Music Festival this year,” Lipscomb said in a news release about the event. “The inclusion of gospel, spoken word, R&B and hip hop to the festival genre offerings will bring new patrons to all of our events. There will be vendors and dance, also.”

Events at the Highfields Event Center will begin with the Field of Dreams Entrepreneur Village and the Aiken Board of Realtors Idea Collaborative at 10 a.m. Saturday. The Highfields Event Center is at 198 Gaston Road.

The Field of Dreams Entrepreneur Village will feature small business makers and creators selling their products and networking to grow the entrepreneurial scene in Aiken, according to the release.

The "Ideas Collaborative" will give residents an opportunity to discuss and brainstorm new ideas to help everyone work together to move Aiken forward along the #connectAiken principles. The #connectAiken campaign is “a three-month effort to connect all of our neighborhoods and organizations through arts and music with a Music Festival celebration thrown in the middle,” according to the release.

Hosts Jane Page Thompson and Christopher Emmanuel will discuss ideas about Opportunity Zone development, ideas about making Aiken's parkways a "river" throughout the whole downtown grid, new initiatives and other topics, according to the release.

“We've all got ideas, and this is a way to get yours out on the table,” Lipscomb said in the release.

Also at Highfields, the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare will present the "This Dog's Got Talent" show starting at 2 p.m. Participants can enter their dogs for $10 and show off their talents for prizes, according to the release.

The Aiken Music Fest will present regional bands playing country, bluegrass and rock 'n' roll music beginning at 2 p.m. at Highfields. The bands are Alec James, Rhyan Sinclair, Dave Ernst & the Early Favorites, Justin Trawick and the Common Good, and Hans Wenzel and the 86ers.

The Aiken County Crafters will set up a Stick Horse craft area for Stick Horse Races between bands in the late afternoon. Food trucks and beverages will be available all day. 

A $10 parking fee per car at Highfields will begin at 1 p.m. The free Aiken Trolley will provide transportation between downtown and Highfields from 2 to 10:30 p.m. with musicians riding along to entertain.

Atoms in The Alley will be in The Alley from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to demonstrate “just how fun science can be,” according to the release.

In addition to science demonstrations, the Aiken Youth Orchestra will perform.

A new addition to downtown Aiken this year will be a Mimosa Crawl presented by Pop-Up Augusta.

“The Mimosa Crawl is ticketed. You have to go to the Pop-Up Augusta website to get tickets and information,” Lipscomb said.

The band Anybody's Guess will perform in front of the Tailgate Tavern in The Alley on Saturday night, and an after-party will be in the City of Aiken Municipal Building featuring The Experiment and the I-20 Horns.

On Sunday, a Gospel Brunch will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rose Hill with no cover charge. The festival will end with a Rooftop Soiree beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Carriage House Inn on Laurens Street. Garden City Jazz is sponsoring both events.

For more information, visit aikencitylimits.com.

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.