Florida’s Adventure Coast is bustling with Springtime arts events. Proud home to Art in the Park, an official Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event, March celebrates music and art in ways big and small.
Photo: Swamp Monster contestant, courtesy: Swamp Fest website
The first weekend in March kicks off with the annual Weeki Wachee Swamp Fest. Once a small community fundraiser, the Swamp Fest grew to a cultural phenomenon and draw to thousands. Vendors as well as patrons flock to this unique outdoor celebration from around the country.
Hand-crafted and available for sale throughout the three-day weekend are baskets, clothing, jewelry, soaps, pottery, jams, jellies and much more. Don’t miss tasting some delectable specialty food items. Crowning of the Swamp Monster costume winner is an eagerly anticipated event highlight.
Photo: Artist in Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, courtesy: Nature Coast Botanical GardensArt in the Park
Next is the annual Art in the Park Fine Art, Craft and Music Festival in Brooksville. The juried show held the second weekend in March is a color burst with over 100 of the finest in local, regional and national artists and craftspeople.
Tents surround attendees, bordering a tree-shaded path at Tom Varn Park. Discover oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, pastel and mixed media exhibitors intermingled with fine jewelry makers, potters, woodworkers and textile crafters. Entertainment fills the day, highlighted by the afternoon performance by the Hernando Symphony Orchestra of Pops in the Park.
Sponsored by the Hernando County Fine Arts Council, Art in the Park is an award-winning show, named a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event two years in a row.
The picturesque venue, Tom Varn Park, is on the site of the former Brooksville Quarry. In the late 1960’s, Mrs. Vera G. Cone donated 103 acres to the City of Brooksville, now Tom Varn Park. Remnants of the old mining facility are still visible. In addition to a beautiful footpath around the pond, the park hosts several popular sports fields.
Photo: Hernando Symphony Orchestra, courtesy: Hernando Symphony Orchestra
Hernando Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 35th season, the Hernando Symphony Orchestrais a star among the Florida’s Adventure Coast performing arts scene. Originally formed with only 13 members in 1982, the Orchestra today proudly showcases the talent of over 30 local musicians. The current conductor, Michele Diluzio, was one of the 13 founding musicians. She was the orchestra’s Principal Trumpeter from 1982 to 2014 and Assistant Conductor from 2000-2014 before assuming the Conductor role at the start of the 2014-2015 season. In her fourth season as Conductor, Michele is assembling programs and musical arrangements that continually delight audiences both in the concert hall and at two special annual outdoor concerts.
Photo: Hernando Youth Orchestra, courtesy: Hernando Youth Orchestra
Hernando Youth Orchestra
The Hernando Youth Orchestra (HYO) provides a place for young people, ages five to 21, to hone their musical skills, gain performance proficiency and give back to the community through public concerts.
Photo: Artist Wanda McVeigh, courtesy: Carole Knudson
Plein Air Painters
From corner to corner and river to Gulf, Florida’s Adventure Coast is decorated with artists and artisans. Whether in small studios or pursuing their talent in the outdoors as plein air painters, the variety and quality of works by local artists is mesmerizing. Painters, potters, sculptors, quilters, wood turners and glass crafters contribute to the rich tapestry of Nature’s Place to Play.
Photo: Pastel "Hernando Morning," by Carole Knudson, courtesy: Carole Knudson
Lose yourself in art works displayed within the Brooksville City Hall’s Uptown Art Gallery. Among the permanent collections of historical significance on display at the Uptown Gallery are The Heritage Quilt, the works of Mary A. Coogler and the Lewis Watkins’ Historical Prints. Browse more original artwork while dining at the nearby Rising Sun Bistro & Market or shopping for unique treasures at Easy Street Home Décor.
Photo: Storyteller on the farm, courtesy: Jerry Cowling Facebook page
Within the colorful world of creative expression is the distinctive fine art of storytelling. Here on Florida’s Adventure Coast, residents and visitors have long been entertained by local icon, Jerry Cowling. Author of several books, he is the voice of characters come-to-life by his interpretations and whimsical portrayals. Jerry is a staple at area events, with tales of history or happenings told in an entertaining style. Often dressed in character or as simply “The Storyteller,” Jerry Cowling is an artist who will have you laughing hysterically, wiping away tears or cowering into the shadows during ghost stories.
There are so many ways to enjoy the sights and sounds of creativity throughout Florida's Adventure Coast, perhaps you'll feel the pull of inspiration yourself!