Art comes to downtown

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 12:40 p.m.

The 32nd annual Downtown Festival and Art Show should provide the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in art and music while spending time with family and friends and getting some of your Christmas shopping done, too.



* What: The 32nd annual Downtown Festival and Art Show, with artists, vendors, entertainment.

* When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, with a blues concert at 7 p.m. Friday.

* Where: Downtown Gainesville.

* Information: Call 352-393-8439.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in downtown Gainesville. And the family pooch is welcome, as long as it is on a leash.

To kick off the weekend of festivities, there will be a blues concert at 7 p.m. Friday at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Featured will be Big Time Juke and the Joints, followed by the R. Mutt Blues Band, the two-time winner of the North Central Florida Blues Society Gainesville Blues Challenge.

Headlining the blues concert will be Brandon Santini, a Memphis vocalist and harmonica player.

"The entertainment is local. It's truly a community event," said Linda Piper, festival coordinator, adding that there will be international cuisine, community resources and fun activities for the entire family.

She said the two-day festival, which last year drew 100,000 people, will feature art by more than 250 of the nation's most talented artists who have been selected from a pool of 600 artists. There will be live music on three stages — Bo Diddley, the South Stage behind the Hippodrome, and in the children's area on SE 2nd Avenue. In addition, there will be strolling artists.

Featured art will include original oils and acrylics, watercolors, sculptures, jewelry, decorative ceramics and photography. Piper said artists will compete for more than $15,000 in cash prizes and purchase awards.

Piper said 75 percent of the featured artists will be returning, including John Moran, whose work has been chosen as the poster artist for "Look into the Eye," an underwater view of Silver Glen Springs in the Ocala National Forest.

The children's area, which is produced by University of Florida art education students, will feature the Imagination Station, a free hands-on art activity area.

The children will enjoy drawing with chalk, painting pictures, designing masks, sculpting clay and creating puppets and buttons.

More than 20 vendors will offer an array of foods, such as bloomin' onions, barbecue ribs, hearty Mediterranean pitas, Cajun jambalaya and authentic Thai cuisine. Non-profit organizations will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about their programs.

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