Cape Festival of Arts called a success
The annual Cape Coral Festival of Arts is once again being called a success.
Hosted by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral, the event marked its 30th year this time around, with 320 artists and artisans from across the nation exhibiting their work. Held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, it was set up along Cape Coral Parkway, between Del Prado and Vincennes boulevards.
Last year, an estimated 100,000 people attended the two-day festival.
“I think we had approximately the same, if not more,” John Jacobsen, chairman of the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts Committee, said. “Most of the exhibitors told me there were more people.”
For the first time this year, every booth was occupied by an exhibitor.
“Everybody showed up,” he said. “We had no empty spaces because of people not showing up.”
Jacobsen explained that a few exhibitors had to back out ahead of time due to one reason or another, which is typical for the annual event, but organizers were able to fill the vacancies in time.
While there were no major missteps, there were some minor medical emergencies.
“Within 15 minutes of 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, we had two trips and falls and somebody went into a diabetic shock,” he said. “We had lost husbands – we didn’t have any lost kids this year.”
Bonnie Walker of Sparkling Gardenz has exhibited at the show for about a decade.
“It’s fantastic,” she said. “The people are wonderful. They love my stuff.”
Sparkling Gardenz produces stainless steel and acrylic garden art, including their own copyrighted plant hooks. Walker noted that her products do not rust nor require maintenance, like polishing.
“I have repeat customers year after year after year,” she said.
Asked about this year’s turnout, Walker called it a great year for the festival.
“A bigger crowd this year,” she said. “It’s a huge crowd.”
Frank Skully of Boxed-In was a first-time exhibitor this year. From Colorado, he explained that he usually participates in art events on the West Coast, like in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
“I wanted to try a different area,” Skully said.
With 25 years of experience, he called the Cape festival one of the bigger ones for him.
“Excellent,” Skully said. “A lot of people.”
Boxed-In specializes in sculptured bandsaw boxes with hidden compartments. With a background in woodworking and carpentry, he tried sconces, wall hangings and such before settling on the boxes.
“It’s what sells, and it’s what I enjoy making,” Skully said.
A juried art show, winners are chosen in the categories of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media and graphics, fine crafts, and jewelry. First, second and third in each get $500, $250 and $150.
The Best in Show winner takes home the grand prize – a $1,000 cash award.
“The art was definitely up several calibers,” Jacobsen said.
“We’re are always interested in trying to get the best of the best,” he added.
This year, the Rotary Club made a few changes to help improve the festival. A Rotarian was stationed at every 50 exhibitors to offer any assistance, and a hospitality suite was provided for the exhibitors.
“They were just besides themselves with how well we treated them,” Jacobsen said.
The Rotary Club had four booths at the festival for the first time. Each offered the public information on the club, including services for the community, Rotary organized events, polio and Rotary Park.
“We stepped it up several notched this year on a lot of different fronts,” he said.
Jacobsen added that he did not receive a single patron compliant this year.
“I had a number of people stop me and tell me this was the best show we’ve ever had,” he said.
For seasonal residents David and Susan Stenberg, it was their third year attending.
“The first time was curiosity,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”
Susan Stenberg said the art is a big draw.
“Because of the variety and the quality,” she said.
For the first time this year, they purchased something to take home – two yard art pieces. The couple explained that one piece they came across in someone’s yard and asked about where it was bought.
“So we wouldn’t wait to come back,” Susan Stenberg of learning it came from the festival.
“Pretty much we were looking for this,” David Stenberg added.
The event also featured a children’s area, with food and drink vendors on site.
As with every year, admission and parking were free.
For more information on the Cape Coral Festival of Arts, visit: www.capecoralfestival.com.