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Despite weather, Art Festival deemed a success

By Staff | Jan 10, 2010

It was still cold but the rain was long gone. If it wasn’t for the occasionally frigid wind gust and the layer upon layer of clothing, it looked like any other Sunday during Cape Coral’s Festival of the Arts – people strolling casually along the parkway, artists hawking their wares, a blue sky and warm Florida sun.
“It really looks like a typical Sunday morning at the Festival of the Arts,” said John Jacobsen, CRA executive director and founder of the festival 25 years ago. “All the artists have a positive spirit. There were even a few who made money yesterday, some even more than their expenses.”
The record lows and cold rain took a toll on the festival’s attendance numbers on Saturday.
Jacobsen said he thought only 10,000 or so people braved the conditions during that first day, a number that would undoubtedly challenge the estimated 100,000 who normally show over the course of the festival’s two days.
Jacobsen said that since the festival took up residence on Cape Coral Parkway nine years ago, there’s never been the “triple threat” of rain, wind, and cold temperatures.
While Saturday was filled with those conditions in kind, Sunday looked to be a little more successful.
“Yesterday, if I didn’t have to be here, I wouldn’t have either,” Jacobsen joked.
Artists were still calling the 25th annual Festival of the Arts a success, despite the weather.
Greta Anthony, who traveled from Okeechobee Florida to sell her collectible, handmade incense burners, was keeping close to her small space heater that she bought from Walgreen’s.
Following Saturday’s rough conditions, Anthony said she rushed out that night to buy the heater, knowing that Sunday, while sunny, was still going to be cool.
Anthony said that while Saturday’s attendance was off, it didn’t really hurt her sales too much.
“Today is a little better but I did have a few sales yesterday,” she said. “But Sunday is always a better day for me anyway. I don’t really sell impulse items. Usually people look on Saturday, and come back Sunday to buy.”
For Lou Garofolo, who was selling handmade and hand painted chests, it was his first time at this particular “show” as he called it. He said he didn’t regret the decision to take part in the festival.
“I’m not dissapointed,” he said. “Today is much more comfortable and there’s a lot more people here. I’m staying positive.”
One of the festival’s traditions that wasn’t affected by the weather was the handing out the awards to the artists. As a juried show, 17 seperate awards were handed out depending on their medium.
Rotary Club of Cape Coral President Dave Scott – who was charged with handing out the awards – said the festival’s traditions far outweigh the threat of bad weather. The Rotary Club of Cape Coral is responsible for organizing and hosting the event.
“There’s so much history and tradition here,” he said. “We were unlucky yesterday but lucky today. I think everyone is happy and having fun – but I’m sure they’re selling more coffee and hot chocolate than beer.”