Arts aficionados throughout West Central Florida will head to South Shore this weekend for the largest juried fine arts and crafts show in southern Hillsborough County.
The 21st annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts will showcase the works of up to 90 nationwide artists and crafters, including some of the community's finest: Fred Rothenbush, William Poling and Diana Gayer; Cynthia Conway, Deb Bonebrake and James "Moose" Rood; and Del Calhoun, Ben Kroesen, Maureen O'Donnell and Ron Deel.
Almost $12,000 in prize money will be awarded. Winners will be selected for Best of Show, TECO Energy Award of Excellence, Award of Distinction, four merit awards, four honor awards, Manatee Art Award, Dean Tea Memorial Award and the Patrons Purchase Awards. A distinguished local judge from the University of South Florida will determine the winners.
"This is an exciting community event that offers something for the entire family," said Melanie Morrison, the chamber's executive director. "We draw visitors from many surrounding counties and are expecting about 10,000 visitors this year."
The event also will feature live entertainment both days, food and the Firehouse Cultural Center-sponsored children's creativity area, where kids can participate in a variety of hands-on, arts-related activities.
Saturday's stage venue includes the Doby Elementary Little Kids Rock Band; keyboardist Lee Pons; and the LadyHawke modern blues band.
Sunday's performers will include vocalist-guitarist Gary Coco; saxophonist Gene Cannon; and The Porchdogs Cajun and Zydeco Band.
Area nonprofit groups also will promote safe boating, wildlife and environmental protection, pet adoptions and more. Look for folks from YMCA Camp Cristina; Elmira's Wildlife Sanctuary; the local Coast Guard auxiliary; Save the Manatee; Tampa Sailing Squadron Youth Sailing; Apollo Beach Waterway Improvement Group; Save the Manatee Club; Gideons International's Sun City Center chapter; Destiny Church; and Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions.
The festival, a celebration of the visual and performing arts, will take place on the grounds of the Tampa Electric South Shore Community Events Center, 302 Noonan Branch Road, in Apollo Beach.
A shuttle from remote parking at Apollo Beach Elementary School to the festival and from the festival to the Manatee Viewing Center is free.
Admission is $5; free for children 10 and younger. Parking is free.