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Coral Springs Art Fair Draws Thousands; event continues Sunday

Coral Springs Art Fair Draws Thousands; event continues Sunday

By Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel

March 16, 2014


In 20 years of traveling the art fair circuit in the U.S., copper and glass sculptor Terry Andrews said he has come to think of the festival here as among his favorites.

“This is one of the most family-friendly events in the country,” Andrews said Saturday as he sat in a canvas-backed chair in front of his booth at the 10th annual Coral Springs Festival of the Arts. “It is not only family-supported, but this is an educated crowd. They know art, and they never bicker over price.”

Add to that a perfect day, with a temperature of 80 degrees, low humidity and a fresh breeze, and you had a good start to the two-day festival along The Walk, parallel to North University Drive.

“The entire community gets involved here,” said Mike Ralph, one of the organizers who was busy selling plaster crafts such as mermaids, herons and clocks that he makes in his studio in Homosassa. “More families, more kids than many other fairs.”

Among local artists who benefit from the festival are members of the Coral Springs Craft Guild, who displayed a selection of jewelry, paintings and sewing.

“This is a great event for us,” said guild member Lauren Young, an art teacher at Riverside Elementary School. “It is supported by people in the community. And as artists, it allows us to exchange ideas and see what others are doing.”

The art festival is not just about arts and crafts, of course. Also for sale were a wide variety of foods —Polish sausage, coconuts and all-natural dog biscuits — as well as clothing, vegetables, orchids, candles, soap and CDs of New Age music.

Children were invited to draw with chalk and dance on top of sheets of bubble wrap that gave out a satisfying pop with every footfall.

On the bandstand in the early afternoon, the South Florida country rock band Rodeo Clowns brought line dancers to their feet.

Among the hundreds of exhibitors was Dimitri Sagatov, of Delray Beach, a 30-year-old photographer who took his first picture just three years ago. He said he is taking part in 10 shows this year to see if he can make a living by selling his digitally enhanced works that range from Death Valley sand dunes to the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier at sunrise.

He said he was encouraged by patrons’ reaction to his work, and his sales. “If people see something they like when they are walking by, they gravitate to it,” he said.

Also off to a good start was West Palm Beach painter Steven Penafiel, who describes his oils as “melodic Art Deco,” inspired by the music and look of the 1930s.

“I have done the Key Biscayne art fair on this weekend in the past, but this [is] a more positive action,” said Penafiel, 46.

The festival continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.