This weekend, the Siesta Key Village will close its streets for one of the last — and most popular — events of the season.
More than 250 of the nation’s leading artists and crafters from 30 different states will flood the Village for the 34th annual Siesta Fiesta Arts Festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15.
The juried outdoor art showcase gives artists and crafters the opportunity to set up booths to display their unique work throughout Siesta Key Village. Those who attend will be able to view, buy and talk with the artists about their work on both Saturday and Sunday.
“This is a fantastic way to explore the work of many different artists in one setting,” said festival promoter Howard Alan. “You have the opportunity to meet and connect with the artist before making a purchase, which makes the investment much more meaningful and personal.”
The event will also feature a green market, showcasing exotic plants and orchids, as well as body products and gourmet spices, jams and spreads.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Siesta Key Village Association, and the event is free and open to the public.
This year, Village visitors will also have the opportunity to raise money for a local man, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Siesta Key Oyster Bar will host a charity event Saturday and Sunday, called the Siesta Gladiator Charity Challenge, which will raise money to help 24-year-old David Rizzo.
The event will allow guests to pay for a chance to step into an inflatable jousting ring challenging a Siesta Key Oyster Bar employee to a duel.
“We rented a gladiator jousting arena, and we’ll have employees up there in half-hour shifts throughout the weekend,” said SKOB General Manager Ryan Schmidt. “People can pay for a chance to beat up our employees.”
Schmidt says the event offers a fun way to raise money for a good cause.
“We try to support a charity each fall and spring,” said Schmidt. “David just found out he had Hodgkin’s a few months ago, and he’s having a difficult time. The medical bills are soaring, and the timing was just right for us to help.”
• The festival is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Siesta Key Village
• Ocean Boulevard will be closed to vehicle traffic from Canal Road to Beach Road.
• More than 250 artists and crafters will show off and sell a vast array of artistic media, including paintings, life-size sculptures, photography, ceramics, glass, wood, handmade jewelry, collage and mixed media.
• The Siesta Gladiator Charity Challenge will take place from noon to midnight at Siesta Key Oyster Bar and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.