Melbourne Celebrates the Arts


The sun shone bright and the temperatures were moderate as Melbourne, Florida celebrated the 20th Melbourne Art Festival during the weekend of April 24th and 25th. Over 250 artists and artisans from all over the United State and Florida set up along the historical downtown streets of old Melbourne to show and sell everything from hand made jewelry to pottery, paintings, glass objects, pewter sculptures, and more. The Melbourne Art Festival is one of Brevard County's biggest events of the year and one of the most prestigious in the state. It was estimated that the Festival would draw over 60,000 people over the two- day event and would bring in $580,000 into the community by way of art sales, food, drink and lodging.

Meredith Wenzel, a glass artist from Toledo, Ohio told Issues Magazine that she travels 22 weekends out of the year to set up and sell her glass art. She stated she leaves a car in the area and flies back and forth to Florida for several festivals every year. Ms. Wenzal has also sold some of her glass art through the Toledo Museum of Art. The Toledo Museum of Art was featured in Issues Magazine's July 2002 issue. Her beautiful glass vases and multicolored 4 inch glass balls start at around $40 and are well worth the asking price. Her work is museum quality and would well grace any area it where it was used to decorate a home.



Festival News

The Festival kicked off with an early morning 5k Flamingo Run that began at 8:00 a.m. The first 1200 registered runners received a souvenir race packet, an award winning T-shirt, along with a raffle of gifts and prizes for all runners until the results were tallied. Custom awards were given to the top runners in each category.



The Melbourne Festival of Arts included something for the children as well. Titled KidsWorld 2004,it provided an area for Arts and Crafts to entertain and educate kids throughout the day. “Florida Forever” set up a display to share information about Florida History and Florida animal life. Featured at KidsWorld was Mr. Science, who showed that science can be a lot of fun. The Learning Station was Master of Ceremonies and performed their show entitled “All Aboard” Kid favorites such as face painting and balloon art were also a part of the KidsWorld 2004. Other stage shows that entertained the kids were the Pirate Dinner Theater, Puppet Show, Broadway Bound, Ballet Esprit, A Karate Demonstration, and The Rambilin’ Rebel Cloggers.



Brevard County public and private schools are invited each year to participate in a competition for their annual Student Art Competition for students in the 7th-12th grades sponsored by a local corporation. Each school submits 4 original pieces in each of 5 categories and the winners are awarded the week before the festival then all the winners are shown in a special booth of their own at the art festival. Many of the items displayed by the students could not be distinguished from the rest of the vendors at the festival. They were all very good and I was totally amazed at the talent of the student art.

For the Adults a line up of entertainers was featured throughout he day and evening during the event from a large sound stage constructed at the east end of the festival on New haven Avenue. The many kinds of music that appealed to the taste of most all who attended the festival included everything from patriotic music performed by the Melbourne High School Band to rock, blues, rockabilly, blue grass, and all variations of the like performed by local music artists made the festival a lively success.



For the hungry festival attendee plenty of food sodas, bottled water, Lemonade, and beer could be had. A food court was set up and the blending of tangy odors wafting through the air from each of the food vendors was enough to make anyone hungry even though it wasn’t even lunchtime. Everything from Oysters Rockefeller and fried Grouper, to the all American favorites, hot dogs, french fries, pizza, and hamburgers could be enjoyed. Even those who are aficionados of the hot spicy cuisine could satisfy the palate at the food court booths.

The Melbourne Art Festival is well worth a visit next year if you happen to be in the area. To get more information on the festival log on to www.mebournearts.org






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