ArtFest Fort Myers is no stranger to big crowds, but yesterday's crowds were monster even by ArtFest standards as thousand flocked to Edwards Drive which, thanks to the newly-completed river basin, runs straight through from Heitman to Jackson, and beyond.
The basin certainly served as backdrop for this year's festival, but it was by no means the center of attention or even a distraction. The focus of the throngs of art enthusiasts was on paintings in oil and acrylic, watercolors, drawings in pastels, charcoal, pen and ink and graphite, 2D and 3D mixed media works and collages, photography and digital artworks, bronze and metal sculpture, wood working, ceramics, pottery, glass fusion and glass art, hand-crafted art jewelry, leather works and other artworks arranged artistically in the white canvas tents that straddled the centerline of Edwards Drive.
And people weren't just looking. Dozens of festival-goers could be spied carting paintings and prints from the fair grounds to their cars, some of which were parked as far away as the library and Southwest Florida Museum of History on Central. "We had one of our best mornings ever," smiled Atlanta abstract artist Cat Tesla in booth 152, not far from the intersection of Edwards and Hendry. "This is one of the busiest art festivals we've exhibited at," added Tesla, who exhibited at Bonita Springs National last month and who will return there next weekend.
Besides the more than 200 artists in attendance this year, the Chalk Block was a big attraction at the 13th Annual ArtFest Fort Myers. Extending down Hendry toward Art of the Olympians, a bevy of young chalk artists marked off sections of pavement and rendered a variety of colorful drawings and designs to the delight of the appreciative crowds who stole a few minutes away from the artworks on display. But it was a worthwhile respite from the more intense action back on Edwards, where the pursuit of artworks for home and office continued without let up the entire day.
If you missed ArtFest yesterday, don't stress. It continues today from 10 to 5, which still leaves you plenty of time to be home for the kick-off of Super Bowl XLVII. You can even load up with some treats from ArtFest's extensive food court so that you don't have to cook during the big game.