Surfside Food and Art Festival

Today I went to the 2nd annual Food and Art Festival at Surfside Beach. I showed up around 1400. There were cars parked all along the highway, filling up both parking lots and even the old convenience store down the road. I found a place to park and headed for the music.

Stahlman Park was as busy as I’ve ever seen it. The beach was full of people with surfboards and kites. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was out and the sky was blue. By the time I got to the beach, it had clouded up and was grey and clouds covered the sky. It was windy enough for the kites. There were a lot of people having fun with them. I saw a lot of different kinds. My favorite was the dragon. 🙂

The Surfside Volunteer Fire Department was out with their fire truck (and mascot). They were cooking up a storm. Art car by Bonnie Blue was parked out front. Downstairs there was a live band playing, people were dancing, and the chili was cooking. Upstairs the artists were set up. The whole place was crowded, a few of the booths were completely sold out. They even sold out of hot dogs. Good news for the SOBA and St Patricks Day folks. 🙂

I was glad to see such a large crowd. The vendors I talked to said they were selling a few things. I had a booth myself last year. There weren’t many people then and I didn’t sell a single thing all day so I didn’t bother to get one this time (I also thought I would be back to work by now, but still stuck trying to find a job).

They had a lot of interesting stuff for sale. Everything from cupcakes and honey to home made soaps and cremes, jewelry, pottery, paintings, wood carvings, and more. They even had a ‘community art project’ where everyone was welcome to join the fun and add their own personal touch to a large canvas near the front entrance. I liked to see that the whole thing was very dog friendly too. I saw quite a few people brought their dogs along and they were welcome everywhere. Nice.

There was a man by the front door who built model ships. He had a couple of really large models, one finished and the other still needed a few details added. It looked very time consuming! Tiny little pieces everywhere. I would never have the patience for that, but it looked like a good hobby for some.

The Fort Velasco people had a table there too. I drove by later and saw they’ve got signs up prohibiting metal detectors and a round wooden palisade. Looks like they’re making some progress but I didn’t stop to talk to them this year.

There were quite a few teams entered in the chili cook-off too. Everyone looked like they were having a blast. I’m not a big chili fan so I didn’t try any myself, but it must’ve been popular since a few of the teams were already sold out.

There was also a craft beer tasting that looked interesting, but I can’t take any chances on that so had to skip it. I think the chili and beer definitely helped the attendance this year. I hope they’ll keep on adding more things like that to the festival. It definitely increased the crowds by a lot this year!


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Texas Gulf Coast Art Festival

After another miserable day struggling with the computer all day, I had to get out of the house for a while today. The Center for Arts & Sciences was having a festival this weekend and it sounded like fun.

I got up early and headed over for todays start (11:00). The weather looked threatening but I was hoping the rain would hold off.

While I was wandering around the outside tents, the rain started coming down like cats and dogs. It was pouring, water was going everywhere and the poor artists were trying to keep their supplies out of the rising tides around the parking lot.

Inside, things were much less hectic. The Art League Gallery was still showing the photography of the kids for the Migration Celebration. Some of those photos are really stunning! I really liked the close ups of the chameleons and dragonflies. 🙂

I learned about a new thing called ‘zentangle‘. It’s kind of like doodling, said to be great for stress relief. I’m sure I can use some of that right now. I might just give it a try.

About a dozen artists were set up inside the Dow Theater. I liked the blown glass and some of the jewelry. There was one lady (Connie Colten) who had lots of little mermaids and pretty little plants (ivy and such) that I was really tempted by.

I talked to painter Jimmie Bartlett for a few minutes. I really liked his paintings of the maritime world. He had one set up behind him of a shrimp boat and a stunning sunset. I would have bought that one if I was still working!

While I was waiting for the rain to subside, I took a look at the items to be raffled off. I took a look at ‘featured artist’ Robert Ruhmann who was working on his paintings just inside the doors. I really liked his subtle cool colors and smooth style. Lots of blues and greens and natural subjects- palm trees, beaches, rivers- all very calming.

The E-Flat Porch Band was jamming’ out in the corner, playing some cool blues and toe-tappin’ music to keep everyone in a good mood. Caliente Twang had been playing outside when I arrived and I really wanted to hear them play, but they had enough with the rain I guess. They were gone by the time I got back outside.

The rain took a break for a little while, so I headed back outside to see all the artists I had missed earlier. There were potters, woodworkers, photographers, painters, fabric artists (very nice), people who worked with colored/fused glass, jewelers, metal workers, etc. There was a lot of really interesting stuff on offer.

All the artists were very friendly and happy to talk about their work. Some were local, like Jimmie Bartlett (Van Vleck) and Kathy Castro (Alvin) who had some very nice abstract paintings. Some were from farther away, even out of state (it was a juried show).

They had a couple of food trucks with the usual festival foods- hot dogs, fried oreos, etc, and there were booths selling coffee, sodas and even beer, but the rain put a damper (literally) on the ‘food court’.

I had a good time there today. I really hope the weather doesn’t discourage them from doing this again next year. It’s great that they have so much going on over the whole weekend. Everything from a “Run for the Arts”, to art projects for the kids to make, to classical music concerts. I love all the different kinds of music they brought out, and all the different kinds of art. I think it’s great to see Brazosport doing more of this sort of thing. Sucks to have to go to Houston all the time to do anything interesting!