One of the original Florida Highwaymen to highlight Cedar Key arts fest
There aren't 1,000 people in this rustic coastal town, and they like it that way. But three seafood restaurants keep everyone -- residents and visitors -- happy. (COURTESY OF VISIT FLORIDA / May 2, 2001)
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Lewis, 69, said he has never been to Cedar Key before. He painted a scene from the island in 2004, but it was based on a photograph sent to him by the Coastal Conservation Association.
He decided to join the event after selling a painting to a resident of Cedar Key who suggested that he finally come to the area.
In addition to the art on display, Lewis will be showing some techniques to visitors at the event. He said he does workshops to teach his style of painting. He also has an instructional DVD series and a possible book in the future.
"I want to be remembered like Bob Ross, but with a tan," he said.
According to Mandy Cassiano, chairman of the celebration, this is the first year that any of the Highwaymen have shown their art as part of this event.
The festival will be held on Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
Cassiano said they are expecting about 30,000 people, up from 25,000 last year.
She credits the increase to advertising. One hundred and thirty television commercials will run in the Gainesville area. The Florida Museum of Natural History is sponsoring a live radio broadcast from the event on Sunny 720 AM.
"It's what helps sustain us and keep our little community alive," she said.
Food at the festival is provided entirely by local vendors and includes seafood, barbeque, pizza and freshly squeezed lemonade. Students and churches are responsible for the majority of the fare throughout the weekend, but some local residents also provide their signature dishes.
Eric Jungklaus, owner of Tony's Seafood Restaurant, will be selling his restaurant's clam chowder. But this chowder isn't some canned concoction he gets from a food supplier, it's the world's best.
Tony's chowder won first place in the clam category of the 2009 Knorr Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, R.I., and, according to Jungklaus, has become very popular since. He said he has seen a rise in orders, both at the restaurant and online.
"People that don't normally like clam chowder like this chowder," he said.
This year, the Cedar Key Arts Center has stepped in to fill the role of coordinating sponsor.
Beverly Ringenberg, president of the center, said over 200 artists submitted their work to the festival but only 104 were selected to display during the weekend. This is the fifth year that the works will be judged.
Many different types of art will be featured, ranging from jewelry to oil paintings. The displays will be found on a closed-off section of Second Street, a historical section of the town.
Aside from the festival, the area offers many different opportunities to get out into nature and to enjoy the environment. Walking trails go throughout the island and provide ample opportunity for bird watching.
Boat tours are also available, granting patrons access to the several other surrounding islands.
Ringenberg said the area has many museums that offer views of local history and art. The Cedar Key Museum features Native American artifacts and photographs of early Cedar Key. Art museums include the Cedar Keyhole and the Barefoot Artist Gallery.
Judy Johnson, a representative from the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce, said lodging in Cedar Key is tough to come by during the festival, so visitors should plan ahead. The island has many bed and breakfasts, motels and condos to rent but no chain hotels.
For more information about the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, visit http://www.cedarkeyartsfestival.com. For information on lodging and businesses in the area, visit the Cedar Key Chamber of Commerce at http://www.cedarkey.org.
Bed and Breakfasts: These are right on Second Street
Cedar Key Bed and Breakfast Pet Friendly
PO Box 701
Cedar Key, FL, 32625
PO Box 460
Cedar Key, FL, 32625
Tony's Seafood World's Best clam chowder
597 2nd Street
Cedar Key, FL 32625
Museums: Cedar Key Museum
Postal Address: P.O. Box 222
Cedar Key, FL 32625-0222
457 Second Street,
Cedar Key, Florida 32625