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Plenty to do, see, hear at X-Fest, Gallo center

There's nothing to do in Modesto? If that was ever true, it's not true any longer.

The eighth annual Xclamation Festival came off with relatively few disturbances Saturday night, and most of the 16,000 people attending apparently had a good and safe time.

Several of the young people interviewed by Bee reporters on Saturday said X-Fest is an event they look forward to every year. Modesto City Councilman Will O'Bryant, who had expressed the strongest misgivings about the event, was satisfied. That reflects well on promoter Chris Ricci, police, downtown businesses and most of those attending. It also bodes well for the 2008 event.

Then Monday, the Gallo Center for the Arts released the entertainment lineup for its opening season and it's truly impressive. A rich variety of musicians, singers, dancers and other performers are on the schedule. The music choices span the spectrum, from classical to gospel to jazz to Celtic. There are programs aimed at families with young children and those more likely to appeal to seniors.

Ticket prices are within reach of most valley residents and compare favorable to Bay Area venues — without a long drive attached. The first tickets to go on sale are for subscription series (packages); later, tickets to individual shows will be available.

Soon, the challenge for many Modestans will be picking from the many entertainment choices — at the Gallo center and the other venues.