Safety Harbor’s Thankful for the Arts – a Photo Celebration

Story and Photos by Laura Kepner
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Celebrating the Arts
and a Thankful Community

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Six years ago, the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center — SHAMc, held its first anniversary celebration. Founders Todd Ramquist, Kiaralinda and Heather Richardson put out a call for people to decorate an umbrella and bring it to their celebration which they named SHAMsGiving, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

It was a well-attended event and has since become an annual tradition.

Kiaralinda ready to go

As with the first year’s celebration, people dress in bright colors and have painted, embellished and glittered umbrellas. The party always begins with an umbrella parade, along with drummers, singers and golf carts, in a joyful march through side streets and onto Main Street in Safety Harbor.

Cars stop, shoppers peek through windows, and servers step outside for just a moment to see what’s going on.

With every year comes a new theme. This year’s was FloralGaloral and it brought out the artist in everyone who attended. Flowers adorned hats, shoes, dresses – and of course, umbrellas.

Jan Richardson

Of the over 100 attendees, two women stood watching the stage as Barney Waterbury of the Urban Gypsies of Florida encouraged the audience to sing along and dance.

The crowd at Safety Harbor Art and Music Center,
a view from the balcony

“Being here six years after our first event brings me so much joy,” said Michelle Tupps. “SHAMc hasn’t just endured, it has become richer than we could have ever imagined.”

“It’s wonderful to see how it’s grown,” said Nancy Vellucci, another longtime volunteer. “SHAMc has become the cornerstone of art, music and so many enriching events for children.”

The celebration came to a close after a music performance by Cat Ridgeway and the Tourists. SHAMc’s visitors left smiling, from the most recent to those who’ve been supporters since the Center was just twinkles in three artists’ eyes.

Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda before the parade

As with all of their events, this one was well run, thanks to the hard work of director Heather Richardson co-founders Todd Ramquist and Kiaralinda, and many volunteers.
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The community mural painted at the celebration

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