Whether you’re an art window shopper, a serious buyer, music lover, foodie or just love festivals (especially ones by the water), it’s a given that the granddaddy of all Miami festivals, the 54th Annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival, is where you want to spend all or part of your President’s Day Weekend (Feb. 18-20). And even if you’re a CGAF veteran, there are new areas that are worth a look. Here’s a mash-up of new as well as familiar areas not to miss.
THE NEW STUFF
Family Zone in Regatta Park
The kids definitely won’t be bored here, given there are so many options for them. They’ll be challenged at GOGO MOAD’s Think Outside the Box pop-up, hosted by the Miami Dade College Museum of Art + Design. Let their creativity run wild with just a plain white box and loads of felt, foam stickers, markers and glue. Or for the bigger kids, Coconut Grove-based Art Box presents workshops and lessons in drawing, painting, sculpture and crafts, including glass blowing and creating stained glass structure from Plexiglas. Tumblers and acrobats from the National Danish Performance Team provide the entertainment. Regatta Park, SW 27th Ave. and South Bayshore Drive.
Bayside VIP Area
Perhaps you want to experience the festival like a boss? You may want to consider the Bayside VIP Area. $75 per person gets you admission to the Festival, two complimentary drinks plus discounts on the rest of your libations for the day. Soft drinks and water are complimentary, as are light bites served from 1-4 p.m. All this under a tent with comfy lounge seating and prime stage viewing. Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Rd.
If eating your way through the Festival and watching chef demonstrations isn’t enough, here are four additional options this year. The Art of Beer Sensory (noon-1 p.m. Saturday) is a lesson in experiencing beer from a sensory perspective with insight into specific ingredients and beer vocabulary. Wine, Cheese & Chocolate (2 p.m. Saturday) is rather self-explanatory with luscious confections from Cao Chocolates paired with E&J Gallo wines. Women 4 Wellness (noon Sunday) hosted by Chefs Robyn Webb and Stella Giraldella is great for learning to live a healthier lifestyle. Or there’s Chef Ralph Pagano’s Blue Moon & Seafood Session (2 p.m. Sunday) where he’ll teach how to pair seafood with the craft brew Blue Moon. Each experience is $65 per person and includes admission to the Festival.
YEARLY MUST SEES
This is really the main draw, to meander the tree-lined streets of Coconut Grove and take in art by 360 artists. The juried Art Show is a showcase of some of the country’s best. Every year there’s more to see from painters, photographers, digital artists, sculptors working in metal, clay and wood, jewelry makers and artists who work in glass, print and jewelry. It’s the ideal spot to find something for home, office or an original gift for an art lover.
Music has always been a huge part of this weekend and each year the line-up expands, bringing in lots of well-known local acts. If you follow Miami’s music scene you’ll recognize bands like Suenalo, Locos Por Juana and PALO!, all performing this year. Also featured will be Patrick & The Swayzees who have been making a name locally for themselves, as well as Electric Kif, The GoodNites and Jorge Luis Chacin. Main Stage, Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Rd.
Culinary Arts Pavilion
The festival is a great place to see our local chefs up close and watch them create their culinary magic. Chef Adrianne Calvo, owner of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar, television personality and winner of several restaurant awards locally, will host a demonstration. Also at the pavilion will be Chef Richard Hales, owner of Bird & Bone and Blackbrick Chinese and the vibrant and always hilarious television personality Chef Pepin from “Despierta America” on Univision. Myers Park at Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Rd. Times and Dates vary.
IF YOU GO:
What: Coconut Grove Arts Festival
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18-20
Where: McFarlane Road, South Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive in Coconut Grove
Cost: $15 per person, children under 12 free.