By LOIS KINDLE
South Shore’s annual showcase of fine arts and crafts is right around the corner, so mark your calendar for this year’s event.
Sponsored by the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, the 27th annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 9 and 10 at E.G. Simmons Regional Park, 2401 19th Ave. N.W., Ruskin.
“It’s a great way for families and friends to spend the day together and support the arts,” said past president, current board member and patron Joey Henderson, public affairs manager for Florida Home Partnership. “The festival is an opportunity to see the creative work of very talented artists from our community, the state and throughout the country.”
This year’s festival offerings will feature the annual juried fine arts and crafts show of dozens of participants from as far away as Michigan, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio, plus local artists and craftsmen who will exhibit and sell paintings, jewelry, photography, sculpture, works of mixed media, wood, ceramics and more.
A panel of judges will select the winners of Best of Show, Award of Excellence, Award of Distinction, Award of Merit, Award of Honor, Dean Tea Memorial Award and the Manatee Art Award. Patron purchase awards will also be given.
“We’ll have a wide variety of art to suit all interests and a great lineup of music,” said Suzanne Ramella, the chamber’s office manager. “We’re expecting it to be another great festival.”
Entertainers will include Matt Billor, The Hummingbirds, Kosmic Pearl, Victoria Ginty & Ladyhawke, JP Soars & the Red Hots and more. Armetta’s Grand Jete Studio of Dance will perform on Saturday.
Bring along the kids, folks, because there will be lots for them to do. The Firehouse Cultural Center will keep them busy at its children’s art activity tent. There will be a variety of free, fun, hands-on activities for kids of all ages, including sand sculpturing in a bottle; fish prints; various sea-creature crafts; and more.
Food, beverages, beer and wine will be sold. Vendors will include Buttman’s BBQ, Bear Cakes, The Tea Jug, Stanford Jerky, Pepin Distributing and several area concessions.
There will also be a variety of commercial and nonprofit vendors, including Bay Area Greyhounds, the South Shore Democratic Club and Save the Manatees.
Major sponsors of the 26th annual Manatee Festival of the Arts include: Club Wyndom; Mosaic; TECO; Pepin Distributing; Easy AC; Waterset; Tampa Bay Times; Firehouse Cultural Center; South Shore Arts Council; and Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation.
Admission is $5; children younger than 12 and veterans or active military with proper IDs get in free. Hillsborough County charges a $2 per carload park-entry fee.
Artists may still apply through March 1 and vendors through March 4. Visit www.southshorechamberofcommerce.org.
For more information, call 813-645-1366.