One-tank ART trips

One-tank ART trips

A look at festivals happening statewide in the coming weeks.

APRIL 3, 2018

Whether you’re heading out of town or staying local, there’s plenty of artful fun to make your free time worthwhile this spring. Start with one or more of the many visual art, film and music festivals happening in Tampa Bay and statewide this spring. Here’s a sampler:

Through April 30: O, Miami Poetry Festival. An impressive variety of events underscore this festival’s mission to engage everyone in Miami-Dade County in poetry encounter during the month of April. Commemorating the festival, “Poems to the Sky” encompasses two giant poems painted on the rooftops of buildings (pictured above) near the flight paths of departing and arriving flights at Miami International Airport. The project was created by artist Randy Burman as part of the 2016 O, Miami Poetry Festival. Both poems were written by students at Orchard Villa Elementary School in Liberty City: Nieema Marshall (3rd grade) and Tywon Williams (4th grade). Each day, approximately 650 planes pass over the poems. For more information, visit

Dunedin Highland Games

April 6-8 p.m.: Dunedin Highland Games. One of Dunedin’s most anticipated annual events, the Scottish-heritage blowout offers authentic music, dress, food and competitions galore. $16 in advance, $18 at the gate.

April 6: First Friday Art Walk, St. Augustine. St. Augustine may be the oldest town in the United States, but its colorful boutiques and galleries impress with contemporary style. Founded by The Art Galleries of Saint Augustine, the award-winning First Friday Art Walk event on the first Friday of every month. Galleries open their doors from 5 to 9 pm, offering new art exhibits and lively receptions to the public. Free.

Pam Grier in Jackie Brown

April 6-15: The Florida Film Festival, Orlando. Presented by Enzian, Central Florida’s full-time, not-for-profit alternative cinema, the Florida Film Fest marks its 27th year in ’18 and brings us two might superstars among its guests, Pam Grier and Ellen Burstyn, along with 54 features and 126 shorts — more than 40 from Floridian filmmakers. Realistic drama, documentaries and human rights themes dominate. Film highlights include the anticipated Tully, starring Charlize Theron — considered director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody’s most mature film to date — plus Won’t You Be My NeighborGrace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, The Godfathers of Hardcore and Borg McEnroe.

April 6-8: Tampa Bay Blues Festival, St. Petersburg. Headliners this year include Robert Cray, Buddy Guy and Mississippi Heat. Along with the tunes, enjoy arts and crafts, a wide variety of grub — from seafood to barbecue to Cuban, in addition to premium beer and wine. Various ticket options available. 727-895-6153. Vinoy Waterfront Park.

Fantastic Negrito to perform at Songfest.

April 7: Safety Harbor Songfest.  SHAMc presents a wonderfully eclectic lineup  at this year’s Songfest — Fantastic Negrito, Josh Ritter, Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root, Derek Hoke, Larkin Poe, Selwyn Birchwood, Betty Fox, Meiko, Ezra Huleatt of Black Taxi, Ari Chi, Jonnie Morgan, Urban Gypsies of Florida, Mountain Holler, Danielle Mohr and Kristopher James. Besides music, attendees can enjoy kayak rentals, live art demonstrations and live performing artists. Food and refreshments include a wine art lounge, craft beer and food truck vendors, kids activities and more.

April 13-22: Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota. Scenic and artful, Sarasota has much to offer in the way of aesthetic thrills, especially this month as one of its flagship events celebrates two decades. The Sarasota Film Fest offers more than 180 film screenings this year, including features, shorts, documentaries as well as kid-friendly flicks. Class Rank opens the fest and Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow closes it. Films run daily during the fest at Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota.

Sand artist Sue McGrew will compete at Sugar Sand Festival.

April 13-22: Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival. Enjoy the last cool gulf breezes of the season and marvel at what can be created from more than 1,000 tons of sand. The fest at Pier 60 features a 21,000 square-foot walk-through display, a children’s play area, street performers, artisans, live entertainment, fireworks, sand sculpting classes, speed sand demonstrations and a master sand sculpting competition.

April 7-8: Spring Arts Festival, Gainesville. Gator town is lovely any time of the year — especially now. Set in the Northeast Gainesville Historic District, the Spring Arts Fest features two stages of music and performers throughout the weekend of fun. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 pm. Sunday, noon to 5 pm. Free. Northeast First Street, Gainesville.

April 14-15: 27th Annual Hyde Park Village Art Fair. Stroll Tampa’s outdoor shopping haven, where 150 hardworking artists and crafters will attempt to distract you from splurging at Anthropologie and Pottery Barn. Navigate to 1622 Snow Ave., Tampa; 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 150 artists. For more info:

April 18-22: Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Panama City Beach. If you’re in the Panhandle, stop by Pier Park in Panama City beach for contemporary jazz. Also featured: a themed dinner cruise among other activities.

Chain of Parks Festival displays art under gorgeous tree canopies.

April 21-22: LeMoyne Chain of Parks Art Festival, Tallahassee. One-hundred-fifty artists, live entertainment, food trucks and more. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m-5 p.m.; Saturday Evening Concert, 5-7. Held along the oak-lined Park Avenue just east of Monroe Street downtown. Free.

April 22: Art Walk, Sanford. This art happening claims to be central Florida’s only monthly juried show. Held on the third Saturday of each month, rain or shine, with exhibits and music at participating venues. April’s theme is, “Art is a Drag.” 6-9 p.m. Downtown Sanford, First Street, Sanford. Free.

April 22-23: Mainsail Arts Festival, St. Petersburg. Head to Vinoy Park for a popular two-day event combining visual and performing arts along with children art activities.  8:30 a.m. to 6:30 pm on Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Free.

April 28-29: Siesta Fiesta, Sarasota.  Peruse works by 250 artists alongside one of Florida’s most picturesque beaches.  Both days 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

May 1-12: Tampa International Fringe. The second annual 10-day performing arts festival taking place at venues across historic Ybor City. The shows are “unjuried and uncensored.” Organizers say they had many applicants from all over Tampa Bay and the world.

May 1-31: Embracing Our Differences in Sarasota. Forty-five artists will be featured in the annual outdoor art exhibit celebrating diversity at Sarasota Island Park, downtown Sarasota, located at One Marina Plaza, corner of Ringling Boulevard and Bayfront Drive,

Isle of Eight Flags, Fernandina Beach.

May 5-6: Fernandina Beach’s Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival. There will be shrimp, but this annual event is also celebrated for its fine art and crafts, which will take over the main street of the main town on lush and gorgeous Amelia Island. Nearly 400 exhibitors featured, and the indie-garage band Flipturn will perform Friday evening with fireworks after. The Honey Badgers will pay homage to Tom Petty Saturday. Takes place 6-9 p.m., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

May 5-6: St. Johns River Festival of the Arts. More than 150 artists will take over historic downtown Sanford. Live art demonstrations, acoustic performances, and a culinary arts food court add to the fun. Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

May 12-13: ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Miramar Beach. Worth the drive to the Panhandle (or an inexpensive round-trip flight). The 30th annual festival brings in around 150 artists to Grand Boulevard at Sandestin’s Town Center. Friday 3-7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Fireworks add to the fun at Mayfaire-by-the-Lake.

May 12-13: MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake, Lakeland. This is an art fest with it all.  Presented on Mother’s Day weekend every year, the event for 2018 will feature 180 artists taking over the shores of scenic Lake Morton Park, in downtown Lakeland. Stay for a fireworks finale Saturday night. Entertainment highlights include the soulful band Lady Moonbeam on Saturday 11:30 a.m.-noon, and the Putri Mandalika Indonesia Dance Club on Sunday 3:30-4 p.m.

May 18-19: Boca Grande Invitational Art Festival. Sixty fine artists and crafters will showcase their works in the quaint downtown district of Boca Grande on ultra-verdant Gasparilla Island. Take place at Kit Land Nelson Park, 18 N. Forest Ave.,  Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Click here for details 

May 19-20: Dania Beach Arts & Seafood Celebration. Head to Broward County to browse the works of a hundred exhibitors, a beer and wine garden, activities for kids and more.  Downtown in Frost Park, 300 W. N.E. Second St.

Information from and the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

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