Two of New Bedford's best known performing arts groups are joining forces.

On Monday, the Zeiterion Theatre announced their partnership with the New Bedford Folk Festival after founders, Alan and Helene Korolenko, retired as directors this past summer.

Alan Korolenko credited Mayor Jon Mitchell, along with the Community Foundation, with supporting the Folk Festival for years. After the couple decided to retire, Korolenko says Mayor Mitchell encouraged the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center to take over the event.

"It certainly puts a good face on New Bedford, and it bring people into the downtown to go shopping at our shops and to dine in our restaurants. It's a good shot in the arm economically in the summer time," says Mitchell.

While they intend to keep the Folk Festival mostly the same, Zeiterion Director of Programming, Rosemary Gill says they'll add their own flavor to the beloved event.

The Korolenko's will continue working on the Folk Festival in 2016 as Artistic Directors. The Zeiterion Theatre will manage overall production and marketing.

This year's festival will be on July 9 and 10.

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