2017 Cedar Key Arts Festival

Top Ten Reasons to Attend the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts

With art festivals happening nearly every weekend somewhere in the state of Florida, you might wonder why planning a trip in April to the tiny Gulf Coast town of Cedar Key for the 53rd Annual Spring Arts Festival just might be your best choice. Here’s why:

 #10: QUALITY FINE ART AND CRAFTS Unlike many Florida arts and crafts events, the 120 artists invited to show their work at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts (OFCA) are selected by an experienced jury. Artwork includes traditional 2D paintings, prints, and photography in addition to 3D ceramic, glass, wood, metal and mixed media sculpture. No mass produced items or country crafts at this event.

#9: LONG AND STORIED HISTORY In the mid-1800s the bustling port town of Cedar Key at the end of the first trans-Florida railroad boasted a population 3-4 times today's census. Time and tides have changed the economics and geography of Cedar Key but what remains in this special part of Old Florida is a resilient community dependent on aquaculture and tourism.   Stop by the Historical Society or State Museum to make your trip even more interesting.

#8: ART-FILLED COMMUNITY Even before hosting one of Florida’s first arts festivals in 1964, Cedar Key had become a haven for artists inspired by its quiet natural beauty. Over the years the festival and Cedar Key’s reputation as a destination for artists and art enthusiasts continues to grow. Two local artist co-ops representing over 50 artists, as well as several artist studios, will be open festival weekend.

#7: SUNSETS, WILDLIFE AND THE BEAUTY OF FLORIDA’S NATURE COAST. Cedar Key is 60 miles southwest of Gainesville at the end of State Road 24. As you cross the bridge onto the islands of the Cedar Key archipelago you know you're someplace special. Its setting in the center of the Lower Suwanee and Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuges means you're likely to see a wide variety of coastal birds in the estuarial waters. Explore the area by hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, sightseeing, or simply relaxing in one of Cedar Key’s parks or local establishments.

#5: SEAFOOD AND MORE In a coastal community like Cedar Key you'll find local oysters, clams, grouper, and more at the dozen or so restaurants in town. You may even want to stop in and have a taste of world famous chowder at Tony’s Seafood. But on festival weekend, don’t miss the homemade baked goods, lemonade, mullet dinners, clam fritters, shrimp sticks, and other treats served up by local non-profit organizations in beachfront City Park. Hosted by the Lions Club, who also arrange live music for the event, food sales at the park generate funds for over 20 local churches, school groups, and other non-profit organizations 

#4: NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 JURIED ART FESTIVALS IN AMERICA in 2016 by ArtFairCalendar.com. Don’t miss your chance to experience one of the best art festivals in America in one of "America's Coolest Small Towns" (Budget Traveler). For more information go to www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com or like us on Facebook at the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts.

 Best Art Fair Award 2016

#3: AWARD-WINNING NEW AND RETURNING ARTISTS Sometimes festivals feel like “been here, done that.” At the OFCA you get the best of the old and new. Winning artists from the previous year receive automatic invitations, encouraging top artists to return. Award-winning artists who will be returning to Cedar Key in 2017 include painter & sculptor Leland Williams of Crescent City, FL (Best of Show 2016); basket weaver Jean Yao of Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2016 Creativity Award Winner), and Carroll Swayze (Best 2D 2016). Each year this event also attracts 60-70 new and emerging artists, like last year’s award winning jewelers Claudia Mechiorre of Canaveral, FL (Best 3D) and Caleb Barnaby of Ormond Beach, FL (Award of Excellence).

#2: OPPORTUNITY TO INTERACT WITH ARTISTS AND WATCH THEM WORK By limiting the number of artists and leaving space between booths for demonstrations, the relaxed layout of the venue is notably different from larger events that often host 250-300 artists and thousands more visitors. Time and space to talk to the artists is encouraged and artist demonstrations are scheduled both afternoons. Through the years artist and visitor surveys confirm that one of the best features of the OFCA is the organizers' commitment to hosting a smaller, more intimate event.


#1. THE CEDAR KEY COMMUNITY The number one reason given for visiting the OFCA by both visitors and artists: the people! Cedar Key was recently challenged with extensive damage by Hurricane Hermine and, as they have done in the past when crisis hits the community, Cedar Key residents, friends and family responded with the energy, dedication and comradery that makes an outstanding community. An outside contractor commented to a longtime local resident that “he had been in a lot of towns after severe weather had devastated the area but had never seen the strength and determination shown by Cedar Key, and how the community banded together to clean-up and get the town going.”  Cedar Key is open for business again and it's a place you should visit, not just for the art or the food, not just for its natural beauty or long history, or because the OFCA is a free and pet-friendly event, but because of the people. The friendliness and hospitality of Cedar Key makes it the #1 reason to join us for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts April 8 & 9 2017.

Contact CedarKeyArtsFestival@gmail.com; 352-543-5400

More information at: www.CedarKeyArtsFestival.com