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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Wide array of arts, crafts back on Corey


Published:

— St. Pete Beach’s biggest arts and crafts festival returns to historic Corey Avenue this weekend for its last run before the Florida summer sets in for good.

The weavers, woodworkers, photographers, potters and other crafters, all vetted by independent judges for quality and artistic variety, will showcase their work in the city’s central corridor today and Sunday.

“When we say eclectic, it’s truly eclectic. There is a vast array of different things,” said AnaBelle Ramos of Florida-based Howard Alan Events, the festival’s promoter. “Even the prices match a lot of people’s budgets.”

The St. Pete Beach Corey Area Art & Craft Festival is one of many across the state and four that are organized at the beach each year by American Craft Endeavors in January, April, June and December.

Local shopkeepers say they reap some of their best sales of the year during the weekend festivals, and a portion of the event’s proceeds benefits St. Pete Beach Corey Area Merchants.

Nature photographer Richard Wise says he’s found some of his biggest fans in St. Pete Beach, where there’s a good ratio of lookers to buyers that are attracted to his portraits of egrets, blue herons and atypical Florida landscapes – that is, places without white sand and palm trees.

“St. Pete Beach seems to have a great many people that are nature-oriented,” said Wise, who lives in Lady Lake.

The show’s organizers require the artists to be present at their booths, giving customers a chance to form a connection with the person behind the work, Ramos said.

Many will post images of their work on the festival’s Facebook page and, months later, attendees will call or email about ordering that piece they just couldn’t decide on during the event, she said.

Wise, for example, sells a range of work starting at just a few bucks for a small pack of note card photographs with his business card tucked inside.

“People down the road email and call later about getting 16 by 20,” he said.

jboatwright@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-1277

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