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San-Cap Rotary Club to host Arts and Crafts Fair this weekend
February 12, 2019

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Marking its 36th year, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club's Annual Arts and Crafts Fair will bring more than 120 top-notch artists and crafters to the islands to exhibit and sell their one-of-a-kind items.

Held on the grounds of The Community House on Sanibel, the two-day event will take place on Feb. 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will feature artisans from around the country competing for accolades in a range of media and styles, along with a silent auction and more.

"I think the most interesting thing is that it's a juried art fair," Scot Congress, the event chairman, said. "We have several categories that are judged based on the legitimacy and the authenticity of the art."

He explained that the presented work must be original, not imported or enhanced.

"That is, it's actually made by hand," Congress said.

Coming primarily from North America and Canada, the artisans' works will cover everything from jewelry, mixed media and photography, to 3-D carvings, brass and glass sculptures, and paintings.

"They're tops in their trade," he said, noting that the fair is on the top 200 list for the region.

Plus, there is something for every pocketbook.

"There's a very very wide variety of prices, ranging from under $50 to up to $30,000 or $40,000 for a piece," Congress said.

For the juried show portion, the artisans are competing for first place, second place and third place in each of the three categories of 2-D, 3-D and Creative Crafts, as well as two honorable mentions.

A Best in Show, known as the Ikki Matsumoto award, will also be handed out.

"We've sort of named the award after him," he said of the world-renowned island artist.

Congress explained that more than 250 artists and crafters apply each year to be considered as a participant. They have to submit photos and descriptions of their work, which a panel reviews.

"We have to whittle it down to fit the affair," he said.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Trust Fund. The funds are then awarded to organizations and non-profits locally, regionally and internationally through grants.

Each year, the trust distributes about $100,000. Some of the local recipients include F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife and Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.

"It is our primary fundraiser," Congress said. "We work the entire year to put this together."

While the booths are set up outside, attendees are encouraged to step into The Community House and check out the items up for grabs in the silent auction - another big element to the annual festival.

"We call it the fundraiser within the fundraiser," he said.

It will feature vacation stays, dining experiences, personal services, gift baskets, jewelry and more.

"It's probably 200-plus items," Congress said, noting that the values range from $20 up to $10,000.

"We have the generosity of local retailers and just locals donating all sorts of different things," he added, citing a hand-stitched Ohio State quilt as one item this year. "We get from the jewelry stores, we get from the restaurants. It seems like a community effort because everyone gives something."

Each of the participating artisans also donate one of their works.

"Every single artist donates a piece of their artwork to the silent auction and we are eternally grateful for that," Congress said. "It's really a team effort. They participate in the fund raising that way."

The deadline to place a bid is 3 p.m. Feb. 17.

Sunny 106.3 will broadcast live from the fair and provide soft entertainment.

"The food court is completely worth mentioning because it allows folks to come and spend a good amount of time," he said, noting that there will be a range of options. "We're serving beer and wine."

Every year, the club creates a commemorative T-shirt to sell. Digitally preserved, then enhanced with the addition of the festival's font, Matsumoto's "Pileated Woodpecker" was selected for this year.

"It's classic Ikki Matsumoto and it just looks great on the T-shirts," Congress said.

There are men's and women's sizes, along with baseball caps.

Admission is a requested $5 donation per adult at the gate and it covers both days.

Some of the sponsors for this year's fair include Congress Jewelers, Sunny 106.3, John Grey Painting, Royal Shell, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and Island Taxi.

Congress expressed thanks to them and the other sponsors, as well as all of the volunteers.

"It takes about 100 volunteers during the two days to make this event run smoothly," he said, noting that Rotary Clubs from Fort Myers help out. "Everybody pitches in. It really is a terrific effort."

In addition, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are also taking part.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to stop by.

"There's a lot to look at, and there's a lot of interests covered," Congress said, adding that it is locals supporting locals. "It's a nice community event and a terrific place to spend the day or weekend."

There will be limited parking at The Community House, but additional lots are available; signs and volunteers will point motorists where they need to go. Island Taxi is donating its shuttle service.

For more information, visit the event website at www.sanibelartfair.com.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way.

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