Kevin Nichols and Jodie Emerson visit Cape Coral once a year for two to three weeks, taking over Nichols' parents' condominium at Burnt Store Marina while the elders head north to Michigan.
Self proclaimed art festival enthusiasts, the Lansing, Mich., couple had never visited the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts until Sunday, but they walked away from the event with a sense of discovery and smiles on their faces.
They said access and parking for the event were much better than other area art festivals.
They bought jewelry and other items which were shipped back north.
"We had a lot of fun today. There was just so much to look at," Emerson said. "We like to support local artisans when we can."
They were among the 100,000 people who made their way downtown for the event over the weekend.
Celebrating its 21st year, the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts brings together hundreds of artist from around the country. This year's event featured 300 artisans.
They line Cape Coral Parkway through the heart of the city's downtown and for two days make their work, craft and message highly accessible to everyone.
Free and open to the public, festival founder and Cape Coral Redevelopment Agency Executive Director John Jacobsen said the festival was one of the best the city had in years.
Cooler temperatures Saturday didn't keep many away, he said. And as the two-day event wrapped up, it became clear that Cape Coral a popular location for these kinds of happenings.
"I'm always amazed at the hunger and thirst people in this community have for these kinds of events," Jacobsen said. "The people have a real desire for this. It's just wonderful."
Bringing 100,000 people downtown is good not only for the artists, some of whom travel great distances to be here, but also for the local business community.
Cape Dog and Deli, located in Big John's Plaza, was humming Sunday, as tables both inside and out were packed with festival-goers looking to chomp down some delicious dogs.
Owner Mickey Goodman said the two-day festival represents one of the larger money making opportunities for his business throughout the year.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for us, one of the best of the year," Goodman said. "We've been busy all day long."
"Everything went very well and all the merchants were happy they had people in their shops on on the street," John Jacobsen added.
The Cape Coral Festival of the Arts is a production of the Rotary Club of Cape Coral.