Monday, January 31, 2011

Manatee Festival

For the 30th International SketchCrawl I created an event page on Facebook inviting Orlando Artists to join me on a trip up to Orange City to sketch at the Manatee festival. I had never been to this festival before, so I didn't know what to expect. Terry and I drove about an hour north to the festival which is right near Blue Spring State Park. We parked my Xterra on a football field next to Valentine Park. I was surprised when we got to the entrance to find out there was a $8 entrance fee. This was the first I had heard about an entrance fee so we paused. We found out that the entrance fee included entrance to Blue Spring as well and I knew that parking in Blue Spring is $6.There was a free shuttle bus from the festival to Blue Spring and back so we decided it was worth it. Besides I had told other artists that this was the first stop on the crawl.

This was your basic cotton candy and corn dog brand of festival. We walked around to see all the tents and then Terry informed me that Frisbee catching dogs were going to perform at 11am. She sat in the bandstands and I sat with a view of a giant inflatable dog with a Frisbee in its mouth. All the dog performers were rescue dogs. The wind picked up and the inflatable dog toppled backwards. People quickly came out and reset stakes to keep it in Place. The crowd grew thick and I only caught the smallest glimpse of the dogs running and catching Frisbees. Mothers knelt down beside their toddlers to share the moment. A man who had been building sandcastles complimented my drawing. He said he had recently taken up painting but he never realized he might have to draw anything before applying paint.

When the dog show was over I realized I had not noticed any other artists sketching. I walked around looking for anyone holding a sketchpad. Belly dancers on the man stage distracted me as the danced the train station scene from "Slumdog Millionaire." I don't know if other artists ever did show up. I was enjoying the moment and considering what to sketch next.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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