Spring Arts Fest kicks off today


Published: Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 31, 2006 at 9:40 p.m.
For 37 years, the Santa Fe Community Spring Arts Festival has been a one of the signs to the Gainesville community that Spring had indeed arrived.
As one of the most highly attended events on the North Central Florida recreation calendar, it's become an institution, well-known to artists and art-lovers throughout the region.
Today's event, which kicks off at 9 this morning and runs through 5:30 and again from 1 to 5:30 Sunday, will generate an estimated $9 million to the Alachua County economy, according to a study by University of Florida's Center for Tourism Research. Not bad for a few days of fun and entertainment.
But the visitors will be more interested in the shopping, the food, the music and the many activities that will line the streets of downtown Gainesville. So bring your credit card and your walking shoes, and try to stay cool and enjoy a Hogtown tradition.
Here, courtesy of SFCC's crack research team, is a breakdown of some of the numbers the festival will generate:
  • The Santa Fe Community College Spring Arts Festival has been one of the top three most attended events in Alachua County for more than 20 years, after Gatornationals and the University of Florida Homecoming.
  • In 2005, the festival drew 130,000 visitors.
  • It's the largest annual gathering of Alachua County residents.
  • More than 700 artists apply for selection; 250 will display their work.
  • Artists represent 26 different states; 192 artists come from within Florida; the state with the second-most artists present is Georgia, with 14 artists.
  • Total number of mediums: 12, including 3D mixed media, ceramics, fiber, glass, graphics/computer-generated art, jewelry, mixed media, photography, painting, sculpture, watercolor, wood.
  • Awards given: 32 for a total of $16,400.
  • More than 5,000 kids will visit the Kid's Art Jungle, which will offer 14 free art activities. It's the largest children's hands-on craft area at a major arts event in the United States.
  • The Youth Art Exhibit Area is the only annual event for youth to not only display their art, but also learn the business aspects of the art world.
  • Total number of youth artists: 71.
  • Entertainment groups: 31, with more than 300 participants.
  • Volunteers: more than 300 people volunteered at the festival in 2005.
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