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Tarpon Fine Arts Festival celebrating 40th year

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Published:   |   Updated: April 3, 2014 at 03:50 PM

TARPON SPRINGS — One of the city’s most highly anticipated events is back and will celebrate its 40th anniversary this weekend in Craig Park.

The 2014 Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival begins its two-day stay along Spring Bayou Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon.

“Can you imagine we’ve been doing it this long?” said Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce President Sue Thomas. “We must be doing something right.”

More than 225 artists are expected to fill Craig Park, setting up their arts and crafts for visitors to view and purchase.

This year’s event will be slightly larger in terms of total artists, Thomas said, because of a low number of cancellations. The chamber likes to keep the ratio of returning artists to new ones at around3 to 1.

“People can still find their favorite artists yet there will be a lot of new faces there,” Thomas said. “We want the artists to know that we love having them here.”

One of those new faces, a jeweler traveling from San Diego, also exemplifies the draw of the Tarpon Springs event for artists and visitors. Along with the word-of-mouth that comes with four decades of operation, the chamber keeps up a strong presence on social media platforms and in arts and crafts festival publications.

“We get people from all over, usually starting around September, calling and emailing us about when it’s going to be so they can plan their vacations around it,” Thomas said. “That’s not bad.”

The festival also includes a juried art show complete with an awards ceremony from 11 a.m. until noon Sunday. Renowned local artist Christopher Still and ABC Action News Chief Meteorologist Denis Phillips are back to emcee the ceremony.

“They’re both very funny so our award ceremony on Sunday ought to be just hilarious,” Thomas said.

Visitors taking a break from art browsing can enjoy live music on both days of the event at the Craig Park amphitheater. The Defendants and Brother Brownlow play Saturday and Randy Vincent and Andy Harrison both take the stage Sunday.

Gates open for the festival at 9 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

Admission for either day is $5, which includes a free drink ticket for beer, wine, soda or water. Children 12 and under and active-duty military members get in free.

To find additional information, go to www.tarponspringschamber.com or call (727) 937-6109.

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