By Lauren Lege
This year marks the 19th Annual Festival of the Arts at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. With music, arts and activities for all ages, this festival is a must-see for families of all shapes and sizes.
Festival features include a food bistro, wine and beer garden, live music, activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art drawings and more.
Art enthusiasts from all walks of life will have the opportunity to witness artists create works live, browse from dozens of emerging new and student artists, and get hands-on in the interactive children’s art station. Entertaining street performers, lively art drawings and the sale of colorful keepsake souvenirs come together at Mattie Kelly to create a family-friendly festival feel.
“We are thrilled to return to our original roots when this festival was first born in 1995 and billed as ‘art on the lawn’ by Southern Living magazine,” said Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation CEO, Marcia Hull. “Today, the new festival site portrays that ambience of a spacious green and one of the Emerald Coast’s largest entertainment stages for musicians to perform. Hospitality is our number one priority to create a pleasant environment for all of our artists and festival fans.”
This year, hospitality will extend beyond the visual arts and pour over into sound and taste, as well, with live music and culinary booths, to meet the needs of all festival goers. The festival will feature two days of continual live music and a sampling of the local culinary arts scene.
Cuisine on the Green will serve up samplings of savory seafood from 790 On The Gulf, burgers from Tucker Dukes, tacos from The Big Red Truck and barbecue from Jim N’Nicks along with tasty sweet treats by Rosey’s Kettle Corn, Mark’s Hawaiian Shaved Ice and Deep South Sno Treats among others. Foodies can toast the arts with select domestic and imported wine and beer in the newly expanded Wine Bar & Beer Garden. Gather with family and friends to enjoy your meal al fresco, while taking in the Festival scene and listening to the stellar music line up.
Saturday, October 25
The Coconut Radio Band, featuring award-winning violinist, Sue Kittredge, and singer/songwriter, Steve Reeths, kick off the weekend from 10 a.m.–noon with an acoustic “trop-rock” session, followed by the Americana-country-folk music and comedy banter of Matt Hoggatt from 12:30–2:30 p.m. Tallahassee’s Mr. Perfects, featuring singer/songwriter, Drew Tillman on rhythm guitar, Steve Taff on lead guitar, Randy Barnhill on bass, and Kyle Aligood on drums will be ending the day in a harmonious groove.
Sunday, October 26
The bluesy Indie/Pop band, Continuum, opens the musical showcase from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., featuring Anthony O’Shae on vocals, Jessica Heit on vocals and violin, Hope Given on guitar, and Caleb Schossow on the cajon box. Continuum will be followed by the award-winning jazzy sounds of The Season Ammons Band from 1:30 – 3p.m., bringing to the stage a unique blend of Texas country and classic rock. Finally, soul singer Geoff McBride, a protégé of Arista icon, Clive Davis, who gained fame as a crowd-favorite finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” closes out the festival treating festivalgoers with his cool and classic rendition of Rhythm & Blues from 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. At the heart of the festival lies the artwork; this is the real reason we are all gathering together — to appreciate these artists and the contribution they make to enrich the lives of others with beauty and originality.
Original artwork from more than one hundred juried artists nationwide will be showcased at the event, competing for $10,000 in cash-award prizes. Among the twenty different art mediums showcased, local, Mary Hong will have her glass artwork on display.
Hong was named Artist of the Year for 2014 by South Walton Tourist Development Council. Hong has exhibited several years at the Mattie Kelly Arts Festival and won the People’s Choice Award in the past.
“I joined the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation when I moved here 10 years ago,” explains Hong. “I wanted to support an arts organization that was devoted to enhancing art programs in local communities and knew just by talking to Deb and Marcia that they were deeply committed to carrying out Ms. Mattie’s wishes. Really, they are devotional! It’s not just a job for them. Being a member of the foundation is a way for me to stay in touch with the latest events that they support. It’s a great way to keep on top of the art community, too. Sometimes people that aren’t familiar with the area will contact the foundation for suggestions or direction of who to contact regarding the need of a particular artist depending on their genre, for example. They can act as a liaison between artists and people or organizations needing creative specialties. They know all the artists, their location, their mediums, and they keep us all connected! I’m always recommending new, aspiring artists to join the foundation for the same reason. It doesn’t cost much and you get a whole lot back.”
The festival is open to the public Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free shuttle service and parking also available. Daily admission is $3 for adults, and free to children under 12 and Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation members.