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Perfect Weekend At 15th Annual Destin Festival Of The Arts

October 25, 2010 by Roxie Hebson

 Sea oats sway in the breeze as the scent of salty water drifts though the air.   Tinkling glass wind chimes compete with the strumming of an acoustic guitar for listeners' ears.  And stretching across a parking lot are an array of diverse colors and textures offered by over 100 exhibiting artists.

Henderson Beach State Park, set directly on the Gulf of Mexico with its famous emerald waters and white sand dunes, was the location for this weekend’s 15th Annual Destin Festival of the Arts presented by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation.

    Diane Davis of Destin was attending the festival for the second time and loved the venue. “The setting of this event is absolutely gorgeous,” she said.

    Blues skies, sun, temperatures in the 70’s and a constant breeze prompted one person in the crowd to wonder if “the weather had been made to order”.

    The idyllic scenery and agreeable weather combined with the talents of the artists seemed to please those attending the festival.  Mixtures of smiles, friendly conversations and contemplative expressions as they viewed art permeated throughout the crowd.

    Event producer Marcia Hull said the festival was running smoothly and that she was pleased with the variety of artists and the audience turn-out.  She said in previous years the festival has attracted around 5,000 attendees and she was hoping for a larger crowd this year with improved marketing strategies.

    Hull said over 18 artistic mediums were on display including acrylic, jewelry, metal, oil, clay, photography, fiber and wood.  Jodie Frances, a first-time festival attendee from Atlanta was pleased with the variety of art she had seen.  “I go to festivals all over the country and this is a very nice sampling” she said.

    Mixed-media artist Melanie Morris from Destin talked to passers-by as she painted bright red flowers on a serene blue backdrop.  Morris said she loved using vibrant colors in her art.  “The reason I use these colors is because I feel that Americans have a tendency to be drab and I think they need more color, more happiness in their households,” said Morris.

    Musical entertainment was scheduled in the park’s pavilion throughout the weekend with food vendors positioned nearby.

    Children were treated to their own entertainment with performances by stilt walker and balloonist, Zakari Asiago.  There was also a children’s tent with various arts activities available, such as jewelry-making.

    The only problem seeming to be experienced at the festival was that the wind was a bit strong at times.  Davis said that although she enjoyed the wind she was concerned for the artists.  “The wind made it a little difficult for the artists, protecting their work, but it was perfect for festival attendees,” Davis said.

    Hull is already thinking about the future of the festival which she hopes to move to the proposed 52-acre Village Green Cultural Arts Village and Amphitheater.  “We’re trying to grow our audience,” said Hull.  “We hope to eventually move the festival to the larger Village Green venue and present more artists and musicians.” 

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