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Embrace Artistic Excellence by Volunteering at Gainesville's Downtown Festival & Art Show

9/18/2013
Embrace Artistic Excellence by Volunteering at Gainesville's Downtown Festival & Art Show

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Mingle with nationally acclaimed artists and sample international cuisine as a volunteer at the 32nd Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show. This award-winning art festival, which is presented by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, features 250 of the nation's finest artists, as well as three stages of live entertainment. Four-hour shifts are available Saturday, Nov. 16 or Sunday, Nov. 17, for volunteers of all ages. Volunteers can assist at the Information Booth, sell T-shirts and posters, booth sit for artists or help with the Children's Imagination Station, a free, hands-on art activity area. As a token of our appreciation, volunteers will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Volunteers will also have the chance to see downtown Gainesville transform into a hub of artistic culture and creativity. More than 100,000 visitors stroll through the streets to purchase one-of-a-kind artwork and marvel at original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, unique sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. Artisans compete for more than $18,000 in cash prizes and purchase awards. While they shop, festival visitors can explore booths showcasing the services and missions of more than 55 local nonprofit organizations. Food booths line the streets and give visitors the chance to indulge in gyros, bloomin' onions, sweet barbecue ribs, Mediterranean pitas, jambalaya and authentic pad Thai cuisine.

For music lovers, the Downtown Festival & Art Show features three stages with continuous, live entertainment by local bands, solo musicians and dance companies. The festival weekend kicks off on Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza with a free Downtown Blues Concert presented by the North Central Florida Blues Society. Headlining the evening is Memphis vocalist and harmonica player Brandon Santini.

The festival also includes musical performances, magic shows and puppet shows at the Children's Imagination Station. The Imagination Station offers a large selection of free, hands-on art activities. Children can draw with sidewalk chalk, design masks and hats, make puppets and buttons and sculpt clay.

The Downtown Festival & Art Show, a nationally-recognized event, has ranked among the top festivals in the nation since 1996 and has steadily climbed in rankings in recent years. The festival moved up another three positions this year, breaking its own placement records. The Downtown Festival & Art Show jumped into the top ten in national art show rankings for the first time, from the No. 13 spot to No. 10 on Sunshine Artist magazine's "200 Best" list of top fine arts festivals in the nation.

Celebrate a tradition of artistic excellence at the Downtown Festival & Art Show. If you would like to be a part of our amazing team of volunteers, please contact Linda Piper, Festival Coordinator, at 352-393-8536. Applications may be downloaded at www.gvlculturalaffairs.org. We hope you can join us at this year's festival.