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Manatee Festival to draw throngs as South Shore’s premier arts showcase

APOLLO BEACH – Arts lovers from all over West Central Florida will flock to this waterside community March 8-9 for the largest juried fine arts and crafts show South Shore has to offer. It’s time for the 22nd Annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts.

The works of at least 75 national and local artists and crafters will be displayed, including South Shore’s own Fred Rothenbush, Ben Kroesen, Ron Deel, Diana Gayer, Cynthia Conway, Del Calhoun, Ben Kroesen and Tammy Franco.

Almost $12,000 in prize money will be awarded. Winners will be selected for Best of Show, the TECO Energy Award of Excellence, Award of Distinction, four merit awards, two honor awards, the Manatee Art Award, Dean Tea Memorial Award and Patrons Purchase awards.

“With everything going on down here this year, South Shore is the place to be,” said Melanie Morrison, SouthShore Chamber of Commerce executive director. “The festival is our annual arts showcase, and as always this exciting community event will offer something for everyone, kids included. We’re expecting up to 10,000 visitors.”

Over the past few years there has been a growing emphasis on the performing arts to complement the visual ones traditionally featured at the festival, and that trend will continue this year. There will be continuous musical entertainment both days, starting with the Doby Elementary Little Kids Rock Band, consisting of musicians ages 8 to 11, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 8. Other performers scheduled to appear include saxophonist Stacey Knights, the Sara Rose Band, Betty Fox Band, Come Back Alice and LadyHawke Light.

The event will also include a food court and the Kids R Kids Studio of the Arts, where children can let their imaginations run wild while doing lots of free hands-on, arts-related activities. Adults young at heart are welcome, as well.

Area nonprofit groups will be on hand to promote public safety, wildlife protection, pet adoptions and more. Look for folks from Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary; Save the Manatee Club; Gideons International’s Sun City Center chapter; Bay Area Greyhound Adoptions; and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Citizens Patrol.

The celebration will take place on the grounds of the Tampa Electric South Shore Community Events Center, 302 Noonan Branch Road, in Apollo Beach. This will be the last year the event is held there, due to construction of a new conservation and technology park being built on the site through a partnership between Tampa Electric, The Florida Aquarium and the state.

Shuttles from remote parking at Apollo Beach Elementary School to the festival and from the festival to the Manatee Viewing Center are free.

Admission is $5; children 12 and younger are free. Parking is also free.

“The Manatee Arts Festival kicks off our annual events calendar each year, so we invite everyone to come out, have a great time and prepare to be impressed by its wide array of arts and music.”

For more information, visit southshorechamberofcommerce.org or call (813) 645-1366.

[email protected]


(813) 731-8138

If You Go

What: 22nd Annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts

Where: Tampa Electric SouthShore Community Events Center, 302 Noonan Branch Road, Apollo Beach

When: March 8-9

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

Admission: $5, includes parking and shuttle service; free for children 12 and younger

Information: (813) 645-1366

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