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Weekend Craft Show Celebration



Now is your chance to purchase a wide variety of affordable art and unique crafts at the 10th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival this weekend.

Due to the Venice Beautification Project the Festival will move from its usual location on Miami Avenue to 401 W. Venice Ave., in Front of City Hall.

As an added bonus, the Venice Farmer’s Market will be taking place on Avenues Des Parques alongside the Craft Festival, and both will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Sunday, Sept. 2.

“We are excited to partner with Venice Farmer’s Market as this will be a great opportunity for locals to visit with all the vendors in person,” explained Erin Silk, Chief Executive Officer for Venice MainStreet, Inc.

Festival organizers expect over 100 artists and craftspeople to participate this year. A Green Market will offer live flora, freshly popped kettle corn, gourmet spices, and sauces. Arts and crafts will include a wide variety of ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, metal sculpture, photography, paintings, jewelry, candles, clothing, hats, hair accessories, paper collage, books, and soaps/lotions. Favorites include Rasa Saldaitis, paintings; Gretchen Singh, pottery; John Grammer, stainless steel sculptures; Peter Lakiotis, pet accessories; Janet Campagna, children’s and dolls’ outfits; and Joyce Slate, jewelry.

Lithuanian born oil & acrylic artist Rasa Saldaitis relocated to the United States in 1994.

“My European background and experiences in America heavily influence my paintings. They reflect my love for color and the world around me.” she writes.

Gretchen Singh creates jewelry storage organizers, sage and blue ring holders, mugs, planters, soup bowls, pie plates, and more-all dishwasher, microwave and oven safe. See her work on www.custommade.com/ potterybygretchen.

Joyce Slate designs fine silver jewelry. “I have different styles, each inspired by a love of the sea, archology, ancient history, or mythology,” she writes on her website www.mythosjewelry.com.

For 30 years Janet Campagna has been selling distinctive children’s clothing with matching doll’s outfits.

“Each year I create my own patterns and design a new line of boys and girls clothing, so customers will always find something different at every show. Our dolls with matching outfits come with a variety of eye, skin, or hair color, and a personalized heart,” said Campagna. Metal Sculptor, John Grammer, specializes in crafting sea life such as tarpon, tuna, dolphin, stingrays, barracuda, and turtles. Grammer creates unique stainless steel pieces that he colors using only a heat technique that produces a rainbow of permanent colors.

“Marine grade stainless will never rust even in salt, and no finish is needed. I attach a metal hook in the back of every wall sculpture at the ideal balancing point, and every piece is signed and dated,” explains Grammer. View his work at www.Johngrammerart.com.

For more information, call 941-484-6722 or email: info@venicemainstreet.com.

Rasa Saldaitis Rasa Saldaitis’ many colorful scenes may be found at her booth during the Venice Craft show this weekend.
John Grammer John Grammer will be displaying stainless steel sea life sculptures for sale at the Venice Craft Festival on Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 1-2.




We are moving to City Hall

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Please plan to join us this Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 9 to 11 AM at the Venice Farmers Market in the 200 Block of Tampa Avenue W., for a FREE ROCK PAINTING event for children of all ages hosted by Venice Rocks.
Venice Rocks is the brainchild of Garden Elementary art teacher Joanna Davis and is part of the rock painting craze going viral across the internet.
Free rocks and art supplies will be provided by White Cement Specialties, Bespoke Cabinet Design and Mermaids Design Studio.
The rock painting theme will be Florida fresh fruits and vegetables! Once painted the rocks can be “secretly” placed around Centennial Park for a surprise discovery!
So load up the kids and head on down to the Venice Rocks family fun event this Saturday at the Venice Farmers Market.

For more information contact Lee Perron via e-mail: info@thevenicefarmersmarket.org or by phone (941) 445-9202.
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By Earle Kimel (Staff Writer/Herald Tribune)

Linda Wilson retired this month.

VENICE — The Friends of Sarasota County Parks will officially take over operation of the Venice Farmers Market when it opens at 8 a.m. today along the 200 block of Tampa Avenue.

Patrons will not see any changes as all the usual vendors will be there. And they may even recognize the new manager, Lee Perron, as a familiar face because he regularly pinch-hit for former manager Linda Wilson while she was on vacation.

“First off, we’re thrilled to be working with the community and the city of Venice,” said Perron, who also manages the Englewood Farmers Market, which is open in season on Thursdays.

The Friends of Sarasota County Parks operate the Englewood market and a Wednesday market hosted at Phillippi Estate Park in Sarasota County. As a practice, the nonprofit group donates proceeds above operating costs to other area nonprofits.

At Phillippi Estate Park, that typically means supporting the maintenance of a historic home at the park.

In Englewood, proceeds go to local parks, food banks, the Englewood Care Clinic, Meals of Wheels and Englewood Elementary School.

“We will be working with the Venice community to get an idea of where will be the best places to invest, that adds the most value,” Perron said.

Wilson, who operated the Venice market for six years, retired in June to travel with her husband, David. Under her auspices, the market grew from 14 vendors to 45 in season, and at least 38 in the off-season.

The city opened a search for Wilson’s successor, though City Manager Ed Lavallee said the Friends of Sarasota County Parks was an easy choice, partly because of how well Perron and Wilson had worked together in the past.

Perron and Wilson brought the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to Venice and Englewood in 2014. The program allows people to use their Electronics Benefits Transfer cards to purchase produce, receiving up to $20 in additional buying power to help combat food insecurity.

And, of course, he already filled in for Wilson when she was absent.

“If anyone has a working knowledge about how this operates, it’s him,” Lavalle said.

Lavalle characterized the handoff between Wilson and Perron as a smooth one.

“She has done a great job of keeping her vendors informed, indicating to them how they have to maintain their insurance, identified the new market managers by name, so their insurance and liability coverage is up to speed, so I think they’ve done a remarkable job in a relatively short period of time providing for the change.” Lavalle said.

Even as Perron gets acclimated to the market on Tampa Avenue, he will have to search for a temporary site by April 2018, when the city is scheduled to rebuild Tampa, Venice and Miami avenues as part of the $18 million road bond projects.

The work is scheduled to be complete in November 2018. But even without the road project, there have been thoughts of moving the market off Tampa Avenue for a variety of reasons, Lavallee noted. Perron said there’s plenty of time to work out a temporary site during the road construction as well as determine whether its future is back on Tampa Avenue or another city location.

Perron said the market won’t see any major changes. Unlike Englewood — where all vendors are agricultural in nature — Venice has a mix of food and arts and crafts vendors. Both have extensive educational and children’s programs.

“That’s a really good mix for Venice,” Perron said. “Different communities really represent different needs; you really can’t cookie-cutter vendors from one community to another in a thoughtful way.

“It’s very much a tourist destination, the downtown area on the island,” he added. “That reflects the needs that the Venice community would like to see in the farmers market.”

Interested in becoming a vendor at The Venice Farmers Market? Get started by downloading a vendor application!



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