ST. PETERSBURG — Those who missed this weekend's art and antique shows need not worry: there will be plenty of opportunities in the coming months.
In fact, the Sunshine City Antiques & Collectibles Show, which continues through today, will be back at The Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg again in March.
While Christmas marked the end of the shopping season for most businesses in Florida, the holidays were only the prelude to a winter where nearly every weekend is booked with some kind of art, craft or antique show.
Antique vendors and artists say the next few months will make up the lion's share of their annual sales as European visitors and northern “snowbirds” settle in for the season in waterfront condominiums and vacation homes.
The calendar is particularly full in Pinellas County and St. Petersburg, celebrated as one of the state's top fine arts destinations.
“This is the cultural center of Florida, no doubt about it, and I've lived in other parts of Florida,” said Millington H. Delia, who made the St. Petersburg antique show one of her first stops after recently arriving in the area from frigid Brackney, Pa.
Coinciding with the antique show, the twice annual Downtown Dunedin Art Festival also runs through today, with 150 artists from around the country lined up in tents along Main Street.
In its 15th year, the Sunshine City show comes to The Coliseum twice a year in October and January, but will be adding a third weekend — March 7-9 — this year.
The January show is the busiest, though, with a stream of people crammed in aisles inside the massive 1920s-era dance hall at 535 Fourth Street N.
This year there are 85 vendors, offering everything from “toys to Tiffany,” event organizer Judy Allman said.
There's also porcelain, fine jewelry, die cast toys, busts of Civil War legends Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, posters of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush from the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas and full sets of Nancy Drew novels.
Those with finer tastes and deeper pockets might consider a massive 45-by-72-inch canvas portraying the World War I German cruiser SMS Konigsberg, famed for successfully fending off numerous British warships. The original piece is listed at $18,500.
Many of this weekend's antique shoppers were looking for something a bit smaller.
Tampa residents Alfred and Patricia Dubiel were searching for antique trains and coins Saturday, though they said their collecting has scaled back quite a bit since the economic downturn.
“Now we're just going back and seeing what people are collecting now,” Patricia Dubiel said.
Antique vendors Ken and Gayle Kocab are looking to sell whatever it is people may be collecting.
For the young collectors, music photos, memorabilia and comic books; for a generation back, James Bond and Mork & Mindy board games. The older crowd might take interest in a well-preserved Civil War portrait marked at $900.
“I think the key is having a mixture, an eclectic mixture of things,” Ken Kocab said.
The Kocab's run a shop in Englewood and say they'll make most of their money between Christmas and Easter, after which their cold weather customers will take flight again.
“The summer months there aren't as many customers, so you have to make up the difference by doing these shows,” Ken Kocab said.
Sunshine City Antiques & Collectibles Show
What: 85 vendors selling furniture, art, jewelry toys and $5 antique appraisals.
When: Today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: The Coliseum, 535 Fourth Avenue N., St. Petersburg
Downtown Dunedin Arts Festival
What: 150 artists selling canvas, pottery, jewelry and more.
When: Today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Main Street, Dunedin