Yesterday I attended the Navarre PHunFest, held on the bayside park along Highway 98 in Navarre, Florida (my hometown!). This park is right on the water and a wonderful sea breeze kept the heat and humidity to a minimum. The weather really cooperated, but I was a bit disappointed with the quality of art at this show. There were way too many resellers there for my taste, an not enough original artists and crafters. That could be because there is a really big Art show in Pensacola this weekend and most of the best artists were there.
The festival was sponsored by the Parrothead club and benefitted the local zoo, so it was a good cause, and it was pretty well attended, but I think it would have been even better with more artists and less "junky-junk" booths. I went with my new friend, Leslie, who is a huge local patron of the arts. She's really enthusiastic, and a good buyer, so it was my duty ( I felt) to steer her away from the Slipada/mass market jewelry and the punched-out earrings. She bought a nice handpainted table, a painting, a handmade blanket and a stained glass windchime. We also saw some nice boxes with shells glued on - but a bit pricey at $50-$90 each; and a local painter with abstract jigsaw puzzle shaped paintings, fairies and mermaids. Overall, the quality of the art was so-so. The local Parrothead club was having a good time and listening to the band while nursing hangovers, the Zoo had lots of animals for the kiddies, and I bought a $3.00 bottle of water!
I met the guy in charge of the Navarre Festival of the Arts show, and he wasn't too happy to let me in with jewelry. That's irritating, because I would think they would be happy to have any kind of artist-made items. This is Navarre, after all- not Miami, Destin, Seaside or Sedona. Navarre is too small-time to be picky. The last time I was at that show, the booths were really average overall. There is not enough visibility for this show for them to be so choosy, in my opinion - but anyway, they do run the show- so what can I do about it. My friend Leslie assures me that she is tight with the organizers and can guarantee me a place, jewelry or not - so I guess I won't worry about it.
Unfortunately, I get a bit of a rude vibe from some of the people in charge of the Navarre Arts Association, which is not useful for attracting artists to their organization. It's a shame, because this could be the next artists hotspot. We have it all; good weather, customers, beautiful scenery, etc.
I hope things look up for the local artists. We can only wait and see.