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It’s all about the arts! Manatee Festival of the Arts
Mar 4, 2010 - 9:29:59 PM

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 By Julie Ball

APOLLO BEACH — The 18th Annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts will attract artists and crafters from both the local and national pool of talent. Many favorite local artists will be on hand to answer questions and showcase their work.
“This show promotes the preservation of the West Indian Manatee as well as the visual, performing and culinary arts that our area has long celebrated,” said Chamber Executive Director Joanne Gadek.

This year’s festival will have over 100 juried fine artists, a culinary competition and a children’s creativity center with hands on arts and crafts truly making the festival a must-attend event for the entire family. There will also be a wide variety of food and beverage vendors to satiate attendees’ hunger throughout the weekend.
Local artist Johanna Pol will be running the children’s creativity center for the third year in a row. “We are currently collecting all of the materials we will need for the creativity center. My adult students will help me show painting techniques to the children free of charge. They will be able to walk away with their painting free of charge,” said Pol. “Children are so creative. They have so many wonderful ideas. We are all very excited to help them learn and see what they can create this year.”
There will also be a beer and wine garden in the festival for all attendees to visit while browsing the art. “Our beer and wine garden will complement the various culinary tastes and vendors we have this year,” said Gadek. “It adds a whole new swing to things.”
2010 Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts tee-shirt design contest winner Debbie Bonebrake of Apollo Beach will be on hand at the festival to sign her work.

The main exhibition tent will include several nonprofit organizations such as the Apollo Beach Beautification group, Critter Adoption and Rescue Effort, Youth Sailing Squadron and the Greyhound Rescue of Tampa. Volunteers will be educating the public on ways to protect wildlife, boating, the environment and many other causes.

Musical and performing entertainment will be present throughout the weekend. The festival is proud to welcome Sax Appeal, the Dolphin Magic, Sounds of Time and local recording artist Melissa Brethauer who recently released her debut CD.
When prompted about her upcoming show Melissa said she was excited and looking forward to the Manatee Festival of the Arts. “I’m a big believer in community events like this one because support for the local arts is so important to me, whether it’s artwork, music, dance, or any other form.  I applaud the Apollo Beach Chamber’s efforts to organize this event and am most appreciative for the opportunity to appear there.”

Jewelry enthusiasts are invited to check out the festival’s one of a kind pieces. “Jewelry artists will have true originals for attendees to purchase,” said Gadek. “Not many people know the festival has more than paintings. We have a huge variety of art.”

The new patron purchase award program is also still accepting applications. The patron program allows buyers to pre-purchase a defined dollar amount of certificates which may be used as cash at the Festival. To become a patron contact the Chamber at 813-645-1366.

The patron program also has plenty of festival perks including admission to the Patron/Artist and VIP Reception Friday, March 12, sponsored by Apollo Bistro and TECO, free admission for two into the festival, free wine and beer at the beer garden with badge, VIP front parking and early admission to the festival for a first look and choice of the art.

“We have a limited number of slots available for fine artists to sign up and still participate in our show,” said festival volunteer Greg Conley.

The TECO South Shore Community Event Center located at 302 Noonan Branch Road, Apollo Beach, will host the festival on Saturday, March 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes parking and free shuttle service.

Contact the Apollo Beach Chamber of Commerce at 813-645-1366 or visit for an application or more information on the festival.

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