OF THE ARTS 2017!
April 10, 2017

Cedar Key’s Fifty Third Old Florida Celebration of the Arts features some one hundred twenty three artists skilled in ceramics/pottery, drawing, fiber/leather, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, mosaic, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, or wood.  A full array of work was exhibited while judges spent the Saturday absorbing and pondering it all. 

In a splendid reception in the Cedar Key Arts Center Garden at 5 until 6:30 pm on Saturday evening, newly-elected CKAC president Susan Rosenthal    announced the winners judged by the Ringling Brothers Museum of Fine Art in Sarasota George Ellis. The full listing is available by clicking on
Music by Medicine-Mind Music Bamboo Flutes George Tortorelli pleasantly filled the 70 degree, cool Garden air.  Healthful, abundant snacks of cheese, shrimp, nuts, grapes, and other fruits filled the artists’ late afternoon cravings.  Endless wine, beer, and more were graciously served by volunteers.
Artists exhibiting at the OFCA here in Cedar Key expressed much appreciation for their fine treatment by the CKAC and community.   Amiable, adept, abundant volunteers met artists early to provide assistance setting up their tents if needed.  Saturday and Sandy breakfasts provided a place for companionship and shoring up the energy for the days’work. 
Saturday evening’s reception in the CKAC Garden provided another opportunity for collegiality and exhalation.  Festival Design Winner Judi Cain said, this community is “really caring, so supportive.”
Orchestrated expertly by Anna White Hodges, was the Music in the Park for the two days. Even ground covers, blankets upon which to sit and/or picnic, were provided, so carefully thought out was this aspect of the festival.  Shade Tree, Carly Bak, E.T. Morris, Lucky Mud,   and the Fishin’ Musicians filled the Park with great performances from 10 am to after 3 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
The A Street strip along the west of the City Park was lined with non-profit groups educating visitors about their missions.  Florida’s Nature Coast Conservancy, Audubon, University of Florida Nature Coast Biological Station, University of Florida Levy Extension Master Gardeners, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County, and others engrossed festival goers with information. 
The most dominant force in the non-profit realm was the fledgling Cedar Keys Chapter of Audubon.  Both Horatio, the horned owl with a left-wing injury, and a screech owl stole the show.  Booth birds, after encountering accidents with humans, were damaged so that they could not be returned to the wild.  Cedar Keys Audubon Co President Deborah Anderson reported over 400 visitors to the booth.
And….that was just what was going on in the front of the Audubon booth.  In the back of the booth were some fifteen tiny newly-born, motherless possums.  The critters were deposited with the Audubon group because they needed feeding every three hours.  And….fed they were.  At the end of the day, they were taken off the island, south to a rehabilitation center and eventually released into thee wild.
The festival was [partially sponsored by Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County, which encourages all to be tobacco free.  The group’s message, coupled with that of the OFCA, is clearly stated in the festival brochure: “The Old Florida Celebration of the Arts is committed to providing a health conscious event for all patrons.  Smoking & vaporing are permitted in designated areas only (east of Pavilion in the Park and behind the Welcome Center).  Thank you for not smoking.”
Cedar Key School students, with help from several dedicated parents, manned the Recycle/Sustainable station at City Park.  After being initially trained by sponsor Tom Deverin, the students were able to guide visitors in the proper disposal of materials into different bins:  recyclable, compostable, or neither, the latter destined to the landfill.  The Cedar Key Lions works closely with Waste Pro to coordinate this sustainability effort.
Ain 2015, after the collection of approximately 600 pounds of compost, 700 pounds of clam shells, and twenty 96 gallon carts of recyclables, it has been calculated that 53% of that festival's waste was diverted from the landfill.
We hope for great results again this year.  When the data come in, Cedar Key News will report them.
Next year, the OFCA will occur on March 24 and 25, 2018.