Inaugural SeptembArt Festival brings together artists, crafters, musicians, foodies in Panama City Beach.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — As the organizers of the new SeptembArt Creativity and Art Festival discovered, if you build it, they will come.
"We had a huge outpouring of interest from both patrons and artists/artisans. It was amazing and shocking! It was obvious that there was a lack of art events like this on the beach," said Alicia Winters, one of the "Turtle Girls" at Turtle Girls Market in Panama City Beach, which is working with the Beach Art Group, Grand Lagoon Coalition and Buster's Beer & Bait to ensure a successful event.
SeptembArt will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, in the Beach Shopping Center parking lot at 7930 Front Beach Road. Admission is free. The inaugural event will feature local art, fun crafts and other creations, food, music, beer and wine and much more.
"Working at Turtle Girls Market, I realized there was a lack of places for new and upcoming and even established artists and artisans to show their makes," Winters said. "Renting a space in vendor markets can be pricey, and most of the time there is a long waiting list to get spaces in these markets. Farmers markets are good, but it’s always a gamble on how many people will be there and if it will be profitable and worth it."
Laurie Berger, the owner of Turtle Girls Market, and Winters started brainstorming ways they could better showcase the artists and artisans that were vendors at their shop. They also wanted a way to help the competing vendor markets — both in town and on the beach — promote their vendors and businesses.
"Together, we came up with the idea of Turtle Girls Market hosting an art and artisan festival," Winters said. "This is where the idea of SeptembArt Creativity and Art Festival came from. Initially, we were hoping for between 20-30 vendors total and between 200-300 people. That was our first goal. ... Currently, we have over 40 vendors and over 1,100 people interested in the event on Facebook and over 200 tickets reserved on Eventbrite, where the tickets are offered for free (but not required)."
Some of the participating vendors include Gypsybeach Treasured Kreations, The Shadowbox, Pieces, The Little Mustard Seed, The Beach House, Truth Keys by Zowie Star, Bohemian Funk 850, Mermaid Doohickeys, Jenz Boutique, Dimensional Crafts, Harvest Art Creations, Southern Grace Lavender Farm, Terra Bella Soaps and Such, Glassy Dragonfly, and many more.
Whimsy Products will have handmade purses, pillows and leather goods; Paragons and Trinkets offers handmade jewelry with crystals and minerals mined by the creator's own family; Coastal Photography by Staci Doucett will bring coastal photography wrapped on canvas, on note cards, and tote and travel bags; Beauty-N-Bows will have a selection of hair bows, headbands, tutus and more; Handmade HeArt by Hannah will have wreaths crafted on bicycle wheels; Original Panama Plasma will show creative metalwork including home decor, signs, ornaments, beer taps and more.
"The featured artist at SeptembArt is Gary Pope, a long time artist that can be found at Turtle Girls Market and St. Andrews Farmers Market," Winters said. "Our featured artisan will be Cecilia Crowson, who designs beautiful stained glass and has been a long time vendor at Turtle Girls Market."
Food trucks and other snack vendors will include The Sizzlin' Kernel, I Roll Lumpia, Crepe and Creme, and The Shack Pub and Grub. Artists will include Donna Tucker, Amy Cespedes Glisan, Helen Ballance and other members of Beach Art Group, along with artists and artisans that sell anywhere from Port St. Joe to the 30A Farmers Markets. Vendors range from a pyrography artist to photographers, stained glass, jewelry makers, mixed media arts and fine art.
"Helen from the Beach Art Group has been amazing for the festival," Winters said. "She has helped out so much and ... is going to do a quarterly art exhibit at Turtle Girls. So exciting — amazing for the store and amazing for the Beach Art Group."
The Grand Lagoon Coalition came together with the Beach Art Group and will host a beer and wine garden (supplied by Hammerhead Freds) with all proceeds going to the Gulf Coast Solitary Bees. The Coalition is raising money to do a beautification project in the Grand Lagoon, where they would like to build pollinator gardens throughout the area to support this species and all other pollinators, Winters added.
Jeff and Jules will perform live music from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the Gypsy Parvana belly dancers will perform at 1 p.m., and Ashley Feller will play and sing from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Miss USA United 2020, Yvette Smith, will be there to meet the kids and teach a little bit of a Flamenco dance. There will also be coffee roasters and a local bee keeper at the event.
"We are so thankful for the support from our community," Winters said. "We are humbled by the interest from the community and from our talented local artists and artisans. Turtle Girls Market hopes to see this as an annual event that grows as we partner with the Beach Art Group and get more exposure to the amazing creators and artists that are in our area."
Turtle Girls Market sells vintage items, antiques and collectibles, coastal and shabby-chic home décor, and original artwork and crafts in its 8,000-square-foot space. For more information, visit Facebook.com/TurtleGirlsMarket or the website TurtleGirlsMarket.com, or call 850-775-4101.