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San-Cap Rotary Club to host Annual Arts and Crafts Fair this weekend

By Staff | Feb 16, 2018

Marking its 35th year, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club’s Annual Arts and Crafts Fair will bring more than 100 top-notch artists and crafters to the islands to exhibit and sell their one-of-a-kind items.

Held at The Community House and Sanibel Community Playground, it will take place Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 18. The festival will feature artisans from all over the country presenting a variety of media and styles in a juried show, along with a silent auction and more.

“They are going to find an amazing selection of handmade work that is incredibly creative and avant-garde, so to speak,” Scot Congress, festival chairman and a member of the club since 1984, said.

An estimated 6,000 people attended last year.

“These are people who have nice followings,” he said of the exhibitors. “Many show their work in galleries around the world.”

Proceeds from the event will go directly into the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Trust Fund. The funds are then awarded to organizations and non-profits both locally and internationally through grants.

“This is our major fundraiser,” Congress said. “Annually, we give away over $100,000.”

F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva and the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum are just two of the beneficiaries of the grants. The funds also support college scholarships given out by the club.

“Mostly, we work with the youth and the underprivileged,” he said.

Visitors to this weekend’s fair can expect to find ceramic, digital, fiber glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, watercolor, woodcraft and more.

For those who have been before, they will find returning and first-time artisans.

“I’d say it’s half and half,” Congress said.

For the juried show portion of the event, the exhibitors are competing for first place, second place and third place in the categories of 2-D art, 3-D art, photography and jewelry, as well as honorable mention.

A Best in Show, known as the Ikki Matsumoto award, will also be awarded.

Congress explained that more than 300 artists and crafters applied to be considered as a participant. They each had to submit photos and descriptions of their work, which were reviewed by a panel.

“All of the judges get together and look at those artists’ work,” he said. “From there, we are able to judge if they will do well in our show.”

While the booths are set up outside, visitors are encouraged to step into The Community House and check out the items up for grabs in the silent auction – another big element to the annual festival.

“This is sort of the fundraiser within the larger fundraiser,” Congress said.

There will be premier vacation stays, on-the-road event tickets, off-island vacation stays, on-island adventures and dining experiences, along with personal services, fine wines, handcrafted items, gift baskets, entertainment certificates, paintings and art, jewelry, sport outings and more.

“Well over $50,000 in value,” he said.

“It’s the largest collection that we’ve ever had,” Congress added.

Each of the exhibitors has donated an item, as well.

“These artists are all incredibly philanthropic to Rotary,” he said. “We’ll get over 100 different individual pieces of artwork.”

The fair committee also hits the local stores to pick items like iPads and cameras.

“There is something for everyone,” Congress said.

Every year, the club creates a commemorative T-shirt to sell. Digitally preserved, then enhanced with the addition of the fair’s font, “Blue Heron” by Ikki Matsumoto will be featured on this year’s shirt.

Congress noted that Matsumoto was helpful to the club before his passing.

“We like to remember Ikki, and his designs are appreciated by everybody,” he said.

There are unisex T-shirts, women’s V-neck T-shirts and denim shirts, along with baseball caps.

For the second year, a food court will offer up Little Joe’s catering from Cape Coral.

“He brings an array of about 15 different types of food,” Congress said.

Sunny 106.3 will have a live deejay on hand.

“We have some light music, some light entertainment playing,” he said.

Admission is a requested $5 per adult at the gate.

“The donation is good for both days,” Congress said.

There will be limited parking at The Community House, but additional lots are available; signs and volunteers will point motorists where they need to go. Trolleys and taxis will provide free rides.

“They are offering three large vans and they’ll be shuttling people,” he said of Island Taxi, a new sponsor this year.

Another sponsor, Adventures in Paradise, has again offered up two trolleys.

Congress thanked all of the sponsors, like John Grey Painting, Royal Shell, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Sunny 106.3. Congress Jewelers is the gold sponsor.

“Without them, we wouldn’t raise the good chunk of the change that we do,” he said.

Residents and visitors are invited to swing by.

“There’s a lot of beautiful artwork to look at and possibly purchase,” Congress said, adding that the money raised will help support some great entities. “It’s a nice place to come and spend the day.”

For more information, visit the event website at www.sanibelartfair.com.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.