Enjoy the Manatee Festival of the Arts Saturday and Sunday, March 9 and 10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin.

Back again in its 27th year, the Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts showcases local artists and provides a family-friendly atmosphere you will not want to miss. A unique collaboration between the SouthShore Chamber of Commerce and the SouthShore Arts Council; if you can imagine it, an artist there is likely to create it. You will find imaginative pieces made from glass, wood, metal and photography.

This year’s festival will be held the weekend of March 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at E.G. Simmons Park. The exhibition area gives artists the opportunity to display work, interact with local patrons and sell their art.

Melanie Davis, executive director of the SouthShore Chamber, can attest: “This festival is all about arts and all about our community. We draw artists from all over the country. We add great live music, a hands-on kids’ zone, a commercial and non-profit area where you can meet our local businesses and organizations and, of course, we add delicious food and ice cold beverages to the mix. There is something for everyone here.”

Artists in all mediums are invited to apply and will be selected by a committee from the SouthShore Arts Council. The selection process allows for a dedication to excellence and an assurance to the public of outstanding quality. If selected, artists are provided with a designated parking and exhibition area, booth signs and other amenities. In addition to the opportunity to sell artwork, awards for best in show and other categories total $10,000 this year.

Applications are due February 22 and are available online. Applications must be accompanied by two checks: one check for $25 (nonrefundable application fee) and one check for $220 (tax included) for space fee, $250 for an end space or $110 for a student artist booth space fee. Space fee will be returned on or before February 24 if you are not selected by the jury.

The festival also seeks for-profit and non-profit vendors, who do not go through the selection process and are not eligible for prizes, and instead pay a fee to display or sell products. This application and fee listing is also available online.

For information, visit www.southshorechamberofcommerce.org. For questions about the application process, call 645-1366 or email accounts@southshorechamberofcommerce.org. E.G. Simmons Park is located at 2401 19th Ave. NW in Ruskin. Please note there is a $2 cash fee per car (up to eight people) to enter the park.

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