While any day is a good day to go to the beach, the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach is offering a great excuse to visit Pleasure Island in March — the 44th annual Orange Beach Festival of Art is set for March 10-11. The festival will feature 100 booths of local and regional fine art, plus exciting acts on the performing arts and music stages. Festival goers may also enjoy live visual arts demonstrations including hot glass and clay. Savory gourmet offerings will be presented in the Culinary Arts area and children can dive into fun hands-on experiences in the Kids Art Alley.
The reputation of this show continues to grow with its selection by Sunshine Artist Magazine, a national arts and crafts industry publication, as one of the "Top Contender" events in the U.S. The Festival of Art was one of 11 in the nation selected as a "must-see event" in 2018.
The festival is a fine arts, juried event held every second weekend in March on the joint grounds of the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach and Waterfront Park on Canal Road. Festival hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The festival is completely free with public parking located at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. Shuttle service is provided by Baldwin Regional Area Transit System (BRATS) with an all-day pass for $5. Bike riders can park at the Bicycle Village on the Arts Center grounds.
The Patron of the Arts program, offered through the local Friends of the Arts (501c3) group, is now in its second year and provides committed art-purchasing dollars that lets the participating fine artists know they have solid support from the community. Bronze, Silver and Gold levels are available for purchase through March 1, 2018.
With more than 100 artists working in a dazzling variety of mediums, festival-goers always have plenty to see, hear, touch, taste and smell . Fine artists, culinary vendors, musical performers and live demonstrations always deliver a multitude of sensory experiences.
The 2018 music line-up will include Roman Street, Three Bean Soup, Strickly Isbell, The All Star Band, and more. Performing artists in multiple genres will be featured on the Performing Arts Stage with acts including Coastal Ballet Academy, Wheeles Karate, David Jones Jazz, Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen Lauren Bradford, and music from Four A Change.
Culinary selections featured at the festival offer gourmet flair, while still providing plenty of child-friendly options. Feast your eyes on beautifully presented culinary pieces while savoring the rich flavors of the Alabama Gulf Coast. Featured restaurants will include Bleus Burgers, Cosmo’s and Cobalt restaurants, Villaggio Grille, and Fin & Fork.
In addition to the Culinary Arts section, the Specialty Foods Area will include The Meat Mart of Orange Beach, Two Sisters Olive and Grape, Willow Farms and BuzzCatz Coffee & Sweets, among others.
Kids' Art Alley offers young festival goers plenty of hands-on fun. Children can dig their fingers into clay and bright paint, enjoy games, watch live demonstrations and take home their own works of art. The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and the Orange Beach Wildlife Center will offer children an up-close look at wild animals.
This year’s festival poster was designed by Sara Dollison, the winner of the first-ever Orange Beach Festival of Art poster contest, sponsored Friends of the Arts. Dollison’s artwork is now featured on T-shirts and print material for the festival. All of the poster contest entries will be on display in the new Coastal Arts Center gallery during the festival.
Come see the beautiful new Coastal Arts Center fine arts gallery and experience Pleasure Island’s brightest and best at the 44th annual Orange Beach Festival of Art on Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11. For more information, visit OrangeBeachArtsFestival.com, follow on Facebook at Orange-Beach-Festival-of-Art, or call 251-981-ARTS (2787).