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Date of Issue: March 17, 2010

Sun shines on Springfest

Many Springfest visitors to the annual juried arts and crafts festival March 13 talking about the weather.

Many left the festival in the field north of Holmes Beach City Hall talking about art.

Springfest is one of two major festivals — the other is Winterfest — organized by the Anna Maria Island Art League. The nonprofit’s executive director, Joyce Karp, said the events both raise money for the Island-based league and celebrate the work of artists and craftspeople.

Staging the two-day event usually involves erecting rows of tents to shelter artists and their work.

This time, the staging also involved spreading straw to protect the field still soggy for the heavy rain that arrived late March 11 and continued to fall on the Island until late March 12.

“We knew the weekend was going to be OK,” Karp said. “But we didn’t know about the field.”

The field fared better than other event venues — some plots at the Anna Maria Island Thieves Market March 13 were flooded with rainwater.

“Good thing they didn’t have this yesterday,” Jerry Gralewski of Minneapolis, Minn., said as he arrived to Springfest shortly after the event opened March 13.

He and his wife Sheila paused at the first booth, where AMIAL volunteers sold festival T-shirts and posters, as well as raffle tickets for art donated by Springfest participants.

Nearby, Brooke Bingaman and Lucy Crowder, both of Bradenton, shared a pressed cuban sandwich.

“I know it’s only 10:30 a.m., but you can eat festival food anytime,” Crowder said.

Other menu items included lemonade, kettle corn, fish tacos, barbecued pork and soft drinks.

Along the west side of the festival, volunteers with several non-profit organizations handed out information about their causes — from promoting preservation in the Cortez fishing village to fighting cancer worldwide.

But most of the participants showcased their arts and crafts — paintings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, jewelry, woodcarvings, textiles, sketches and prints.

“There’s a lot of talent here,” said festivalgoer Nancy Peterman of Chicago, who took an interest in sculptures in Len Marucci’s booth.

“Plus variety,” said friend Loren Ribicoff of Naperville, Ill. “I’m surprised at the variety.”