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Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival returns this weekend

January 10, 2019
By CJ HADDAD ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Lee County's biggest special event returns to Cape Coral for it's 34th year this weekend.

The Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival will see more than 100,000 people canvasing the streets of the South Cape Jan. 12 and 13, as more than 300 juried artists and artisans from across the county showcase their fine art, sculpture, pottery, jewelry, photography metal works, mixed media and more.

"This art festival is special because of its size and unique culture," said festival chair John Jacobson. "It brings the city of Cape Coral together as a community where people can walk, talk and meet each other and see old friends as well as enjoy a beautiful day. The city of Cape Coral and, in fact, Lee County offers no other opportunity quite like this one."

The event is put on by the Rotary Club of Cape Coral each year, as its mission is to bring arts and music to Cape Coral for the community to enjoy.

Jacobson was the brain child behind the festival, and has seen it flourish over three decades in Southwest Florida.

"At the beginning, the art festival had 150 exhibitors in the first year at Jaycee Park, and that has grown to over 300 exhibitors this year. We went from small crowds of about 5- to 10,000, to well over 100,000 people today," he said.

For two days, the event will stretch along Cape Coral Parkway between Del Prado Boulevard and Southeast 10th Place, and north to Southeast 47th Terrace.

The Lee County Visitor ?& Convention Bureau has dubbed the festival the largest special event in the county.

The Arts & Music fest was ranked as the 24th Best Art Festival in 2017 by Sunshine Artist (America's premier art & craft show magazine), and it constantly ranks in the top 50.

"Simply, the art festival is a place where there is no difference between the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the political change," said Jacobson. "Everyone comes for the same reason - to look and learn about art, photography, crafts, jewelry and so many other things.

"It is simply a fun day, you can sample great food at our food vendors, stop in a local restaurant for a meal or you can visit all the stores and shops that are in south Cape Coral and just enjoy our great Florida weather."

The music aspect of the event came to fruition last year, and was well received, said Jacobson.

"We added live music for a number of reasons. First of all, an art festival should have the performing arts by its very nature. Our vision is to expand the length of stay at the art festival. People can come and enjoy the art during the day, stay for dinner at one of our fine restaurants or entertainment establishments, and be able to listen to music at all of them," he said.

Live music will take place on Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m.

Attendees will be able to see artists from all over the country perform a myriad of genres including rock, country, blues, jazz and more.

Dixie Roadhouse, Rack'em Spirits & Times, Big Blue Brewing, BackStreets Sports Bar, The Dek, The World Famous Cigar Bar, Ralph's Place, Two Amigos Restaurant and Nevermind Awesome Bar and Eatery will all be venues hosting performers.

"We will also have an outdoor stage that will feature a few bands during the day," said Jacobson.

This year's poster winner was Tim Parker, owner of Art2D Gallery & Studio in Naples, for his work, Lift Off #2, depicting a great blue heron and egrets in a color abstract pallet of colors.

His work was selected from the competitive pool of exhibitors by the Festival committee to be displayed on the events poster, which is available to purchase for $20.

"Tim Parker's work is beautiful," said Jacobson. "His work combines the abstract and the real in a compelling and engaging manner. There is always more to see. I enjoy a work you can admire close up as well as at a distance."

The event wouldn't be possible without the help and support of volunteers, sponsors and businesses, said Jacobson, who puts a lot of time and effort into planning.

He's already working on 2020's festival.

"It has been my privilege and honor to lead one of the best Rotary Clubs in the world. The Cape Coral Arts & Music festival continues to rank in the top 50 festivals in the United States and we are the largest festival special event in Lee County," Jacobson said. "The Tourist Development Council and the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau help us each year. We could not do this without the help of the city of Cape Coral, especially its Parks and Recreation Department; they go beyond what could be expected."

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