Despite the threat of heavy rains and scattered thunderstorms, the village held its 16th annual arts festival at Pinecrest Gardens late last month.
According to Director Alana Perez, the yearly tradition is responsible for bringing in an array of artists and vendors as well as thousands of people throughout the two-day event.
More than 50 artists participated in this year’s festival, some setting up shop indoors, within tents and throughout the garden’s partially sheltered area.
According to Perez, about 65 artists fit into the garden area, while members of the Dade Art Education Association usually bring up to ten artists and set up shop at the park’s rebuilt historic entrance.
Though the event normally brings in about 10,000 attendees throughout the entire weekend, numbers dropped to about 2,500 due to the inclement weather.
Known for its vibrant and lush botanical settings, Pinecrest Gardens has served as the festival’s home, which is co-sponsored by South Motors.
The event was started by Perez’ predecessor, Yocelyn Galiano who is now serving as village manager.
“Yocelyn Galiano was the instrumental force behind getting our festival up and running,” said Perez. “ She’s always had a vision for this park as she grew up in the area, coming everyday when it was Parrot Jungle.”
Artists like Peter DeMercado and JC Rodriguez return each year to showcase and sell their work.
DeMercado, a mixed media artist and member of the Dade Art Educators Association, has been creating art for almost 30 years and is a returning artist.
A longtime painter, DeMercado said he decided to get into sculpting and assemblage. He has created hundreds of pieces over the years. DeMercado says that the entire world serves as his inspiration and that everything he sees is potentially a piece of art.
“Every piece is a creation of itself,” says DeMercado. “Every piece has the potential to be the best piece.”
Rodriguez is relatively new to the field. He has been creating art for four years and has been participating in the festival for the past three.
Rodriguez mainly focuses on paintings and woodwork, where he finds pleasure in carving and cutting his own figures.
A fishing lover, Rodriguez gathers his inspiration from the sea.
I fish and spearfish a lot. I pickup a lot of the garbage that’s out there in the ocean and I turn it into art,” said Rodriguez. “At the same time I am helping out fish. We really need to protect these reefs, they’re being destroyed.”
Among his most popular works is his “3D Lobster Trap” which he says everyone has been asking him to make.
Despite the drop in numbers due to natures unwillingness to cooperate, Perez said that the festival will return for a 17th year next year.
“Seventeen is a lucky number,” said Perez.