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Lions Club’s Arts and Crafts Fair is last big art festival for season

By Staff | Mar 14, 2018

Residents and visitors will have one last opportunity to get their artistic fill – on a large scale – before the season ends with the Sanibel-Captiva Lions Club’s 35th Annual Arts and Crafts Fair.

Taking place on March 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and March 17 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Community House on Sanibel, the event will feature the work of approximately 100 artists and crafters. Designed as a juried show, there will also be a silent auction, raffles and a door prize giveaway.

Proceeds from the annual event benefit charities and programs supported by the club, including Lighthouse of SWFL, LARC, the Trailways Camp, Conklin Center and Southeastern Guide Dogs.

“It’s by far our biggest fundraiser for the year,” Jeff MacDonald, who is an event co-chair with Bill Sartoris, said. “It’s a long-standing tradition for us. It used to be one of the only fairs when it started.”

A portion of the funds raised also go toward local initiatives.

“Some of the fair proceeds go to funding the free vision, hearing and diabetes screenings our Lions Club provides to both adults and children here on the island,” he said. “We also provide free retina screenings once a year as part of this program.”

Last year’s event raised about $40,000.

As for turnout, more people tend to swing by on the first day.

“The number was around 4,500 total over the two days,” MacDonald said of 2017.

Roughly 100 artists and crafters will display their work, with many of them returning exhibitors.

“In some ways, most folks that are in the show have been in the show a long time,” he said.

This means visitors can likely pick up another must-have piece from their favorite.

“We have folks that are painters, people that are in photography, people in jewelry,” MacDonald said, adding that there is a balance of fine art and crafts. “And some of the crafts are pretty eclectic.”

Because it is a juried show, exhibitors have to pass a panel and all of the work is original.

“It’s things people have to make themselves,” he said.

For those looking to buy, the price range is wide due in part to the variety.

“Some of the artists might have large artwork that’s kind of expensive, while some of the craftsmen have things that are more affordable,” MacDonald said.

The exhibitors are judged in three categories: 2-D art, 3-D art and creative crafts. Honors are given to the first place, second place and third place winners in each category, as well as one Best of Show.

Best of Show wins $300 and a free booth in next year’s show, and the top winners get a booth.

“They get invited back the next year,” he said.

Inside of The Community House, the silent auction will be open to bidding.

“Part of how the fair runs is that all of the exhibitors donate something,” MacDonald said. “Also, we get artwork donated, we get all kinds of gift cards from the local restaurants and service industry.”

Bidding on the items will close on March 17 at 1 p.m.

Winners do not have to be present to win.

In addition, raffle tickets will be for sale for a variety of items.

“There are cash prizes, as well,” he said.

With entry into the fair, attendees can fill out a form for a chance to win an iPad mini 4.

“It’s just something we did last year and it was a lot of fun,” MacDonald said.

Again, the winner does not have to be present to collect the door prize.

“We draw it on Saturday,” he said.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

“There are actually going to be three different food vendors at the fair,” MacDonald said.

“It’s a pretty eclectic mix,” he added. “Nobody has the same food items.”

Parking is free, with a $5 donation for entry; children ages 12 and under are free.

The major sponsors for this year’s event are John Grey Painting, Royal Shell, Lily & Co. and Bailey’s General Store.

The community is encouraged to stop by and enjoy the show.

“It’s actually a fun event,” MacDonald said. “It’s a nice, little tropical atmosphere to walk and spend time as a family. We have a lot of kids that come.”

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.