By Michelle Colesanti


ManateelogoThe 23rd annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts will be held this year at a new location; E.G. Simmons Park, located at 2401 19th Ave. NW in Ruskin. The festival will take place on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

A nationally-recognized juried art show, The Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts is dedicated to excellence in the arts and selects quality artists each year.

The purpose of the festival is to promote the awareness and preservation of the West Indian Manatee, as well as the visual and performing arts.

Visitors will have the opportunity to meet and interact with the many artists in attendance, and to view their work and purchase fine art from the artist who created it.

The Art Festival Committee has worked hard to make this a world-class art show as well as a fun festival.

Melanie Morrison, executive director of the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, said, “It is going to be fun this year.”

Last year, the committee worked to make the festival a true Arts and Music Festival.

“We will have lots of local bands with great local followings this year,” Morrison said.

There will be continuous live musical entertainment taking place both days. On Saturday, March 14 from 11 a.m.-12 Noon, Ed Wright (guitar, blues and roots music) will perform. From 12:30-2:30 p.m., Ladyhawke Light (modern blues, country, Americana, easy listening rock) will entertain the crowds and from 3-5 p.m., Resinated (original reggae, funk, pop style music) will take the stage. On Sunday, March 15, Craig Singleton (variety mix and magic on the keyboards) will entertain, from 12-2:30 p.m., Wendy Rich and the Soul Shakers (soul, rhythm and blues, country and roots rock) will take the state, and from 3-5 p.m., Betty Fox Band (blues and soul) will perform.

In addition to the fine arts and music, the festival features a wide variety of food and beverage vendors. Many local non-profits will be on hand to help educate and show ways to protect wildlife and other causes. The Children’s Creativity Center will feature many hands-on arts and crafts for the younger crowd.

Admission to the festival is $5 for adults. Children 12 and under are free.

For more information about the 23rd annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts, call 645-1366 or visit


Caption: The 23rd annual Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts is taking place at E.G. Simmons Park on Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15.

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.