About the only thing more amazing than the artwork people saw at the 29th annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Cape Coral this weekend was the weather.
More than 100,000 people were expected to make their way downtown to Cape Coral Parkway to see work from more than 300 of the most talented artisans in the country while seeing the best of what downtown has to offer.
And it was all for a great cause.
Wood carver Ian Williams, left, and Dan Kelly show off Kelly’s newest piece of art for his home, a wooden crab created by the artist, at the 29th annual Festival of the Arts in Cape Coral.
Despite some rain before the event, the skies cleared up on Saturday, with an even nicer day on Sunday, bringing visitors out in droves between Del Prado and Vincennes boulevards to browse and buy some interesting works of art in every form.
"It's another proven point that Cape Coral is growing to the point where if you give them somewhere to go, they'll show up," said Rotarian Elmer Tabor. "We've put in a lot of work to put this on. If you see the smile on everyone's face, they're enjoying it, too."
That made for good news for the Rotary, according to its president Nancy Kratt, which uses this event to raise the bulk of its funds for the year to perform good deeds in the area.
The Rotary Club of Cape Coral is pleased to announces the winners at this Year's Cape Coral Festival of the Arts.
1. Jinsong Kim, booth 223
2. Magali Cereghino Groves, booth 259
3. Donna Batson, booth 109
1. Rosario Garcia, booth 72
2. Deborah Barnes, booth 39
3. Douglas Brandow, booth 31
1. Parry Dolle, booth 163
2. Bruce Trewyn, booth 169
3. Beth Erlund, booth 92
1. Andre Chanlatte, booth 176
2. Zhiyong Ye, booth 76
3. Linda Apriletti, booth 13
1. Robert Jones, booth 97
2. Bernard Blekfeld, booth 209
3. Michael Jasinski, booth 91
1. Werner Holzbaur, booth 294
2. Ron Schmidt, booth 53
3. Bob Gwynn, booth 293
Best of Show:
1. Jewelry- Marc & Wendy Zoschke, booth 288
"It's our biggest fundraiser. We think this will surpass any we've had before," Kratt said. "We give out scholarships, feed the hungry, give out dictionaries to the third-graders in Lee County, so it's important all the money we raise stays in the community."
More than 500 artists applied to this juried show. Of which, 309 were approved to set up booths.
The show featured artists nationwide and everything from fine art, to mixed media, with prizes awarded for the best of the best. The Best in Show received $1,000, while first place, second place and third place awards in each category earned $500, $250 or $150.
Dan Davenport came from Michigan to show off his collection of repouse artwork - a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design - produced out of recycled soda cans.
"I get blank sheets of material and I can hammer my patterns and designs in. I get a block of steel and create a negative and pound my metal into the artwork," Davenport said.
Ian Williams, who lives in Anando, had a booth with some of his fine wood sculptures of all sorts of wildlife made of oak, cedar and mesquite.
"It's my first time here and hopefully, they'll have us back. I have never had so many people in my tent in the morning, and I've been doing this for seven years," Williams said, who had sold nine pieces by noon.
One of his pieces was a crab that took nearly two weeks of polyurethaning to give it shine and the ability to endure the tough Florida climate.
By the end of the day, it was also gone. Sold to Dan Kelly, who is moving to the city from North Dakota, for $600.
"We came on a whim to see what they had because most shows are just portraits and this had everything," Kelly said. "I was pleased with the price, the craftsmanship and nicety of the people. We'll be back."
There were also local artists such as Kacy Deems and Jodi Smith of Mixers Mobile Art Studio selling their portraits while trying to drum up business for its mobile studio.
With all the foot traffic, many of the businesses on Cape Coral Parkway took advantage by setting up shop outside.
Sans Sushi, a restaurant, was selling cups of beer outside and doing very good business. Other shops, such as John Michael's Jewelry and Razzle Dazzle, also did outside business.
"A lot of people don't want to eat carny food, shall we say," Tabor said. "The restaurants and bars are naturally packed. It's McDonald's and Wendy's biggest day of the year. You would think they would be shut down."
For those who came, it was fun regardless of whether they went home with anything.
Susan Adamson, of Cape Coral, was leaving with an ornate necklace.
"It's all different colors of glass beads. It's unique and one of a kind. It caught my eye," Adamson said.
Others were just looking around and taking pride in what the city and the Rotary were offering.
"I think it's all beautiful, I want to buy all of it right now," said Makayla Murray, 17, the current Miss Cape Coral Teen USA. "It's a great day in beautiful Cape Coral."