The annual Downtown Festival & Art Show will feature art, entertainment and food Saturday and Sunday.

[Jessica Rodriguez | Gainesville Sun]

For the 36th year in a row, Gainesville’s art scene will take over the streets of downtown Saturday and Sunday.

About 90,000 people are expected to attend the Downtown Festival and Art show, presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department.

People of all ages can delight in art, music and entertainment throughout the weekend. This year, art lovers can enjoy the 352 Art Area, a new section that will showcase cultural organizations, performing arts and organizations from the Gainesville community, said Downtown Festival & Art Show event coordinator, Sunshine Andrei.

“I love seeing everyone that comes to enjoy the festival. I love seeing them all have a good time. Everyone enjoying it makes my day, that’s why I do what I do.”

— Sunshine Andrei

More than 240 artists will showcase their photography, jewelry, paintings and other kinds of works, Andrei said.

The festival, which is concentrated along South First Street and side streets, is open to the public and will include a free “Imagination Station” for kids to create their own art.

“I love seeing everyone that comes to enjoy the festival,” Andrei said. “I love seeing them all have a good time. Everyone enjoying it makes my day, that’s why I do what I do.”

The night before the festival downtown Gainesville will be full of soulful sounds during the free Downtown Blues Concert on the Bo Diddley Plaza from 7-10 p.m.

“My hope is that my work will inspire Floridians to live more mindful with our amazing natural environment, particularly with water.”

— John Moran

Led by Boston native Curran, the group has performed across the country and was named Boston’s Best Blues Band in 2012 and also won a 2014 Blues Music Award Nomination for Best New Artist.

Opening the show at 7 p.m. will be Gainesville blues performer Mr. Aullie, a singer/songwriter who won the Gamble Rogers tribute song contest in 2013 and won the 2017 Our Santa Fe River song contest.

Following Aullie will be an 8 p.m. set by The Deviljays, a blues and R&B group from Lake City. Both Aullie and The Deviljays are being featured in the concert after winning their respective divisions in this year’s North Central Florida Blues Society Blues Challenge — Aullie as the solo performer, and The Deviljays as the band winner. Both will also represent the area in the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Downtown Festival and Art Show itself will feature artists such as nature photographer John Moran. Moran is a water advocate with the Springs Eternal Project, an organization of scientists, researchers, artists and advocates dedicated to inspiring Floridians to value springs.

“My hope is that my work will inspire Floridians to live more mindful with our amazing natural environment, particularly with water,” he said.

There will be 54 artists from Gainesville and surrounding areas, Andrei said. Along with Moran, the list of participating artists from the area ranges from glass artists Jacquelyne Collett, and Mary and Mike McIntyre to Leslie Peebles and Jim Wilson in the Drawing/Printmaking category and painters Eleanor Blair, Tina Corbett, Ernest Lee, Miriam Novack and Peter Carolin among others.

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