Held as a fundraiser for the tiny historic island called Pigeon Key in the tropical Florida Keys, the two-day juried Pigeon Key Art Festival attracts exemplary artists and quality buyers from across the globe. The event takes place February 2 & 3 at the Marathon Community Park, MM49, Marathon FL and offers more than 50 fine artists and craftsmen, delicious local cuisine and live art by preeminent marine life artist, Carey Chen. Enjoy historical reenactments, entertainment, children’s activities and educational programming highlighting the Pigeon Key Foundation’s important projects. New this year is a live fine art auction on Friday at 5:30 pm featuring works from Chen, Wyland, Alan Maltz, Guy Harvey and more followed by a family-friendly live music event with trop rock favorites Howard Livingston & the MM 24 Band.
“People know Pigeon Key is the tiny island under the Seven Mile Bridge. But what a lot of people don’t know is that we operate a Marine Science Center (PKFMSC) on the five-acre island”, explained Executive Director Kelly McKinnon. The center gravitates towards hands-on learning, turning the island and surrounding ecosystem into the classroom. “Students are provided with a pivotal, one-of-a-kind experience that will be invaluable to them the rest of their lives,” he said. For over 25 years, PKFMSC has provided private, customized programs to more than 30,000 participants from more than 1,000 schools throughout the United States. Programs are tailored for all ages—elementary school to post graduate—and are designed and endorsed by some of the most respected marine scientists in the US. The Pigeon Key Art Festival is the only fundraiser hosted by the non-profit foundation to help support these educational efforts, historical preservation and this year, rebuilding projects caused by hurricane Irma.
The Festival includes other area research organizations and creates a showcase of the important eco-tourism organizations that dominate the middle keys. At the Festival, guests will find exhibits and displays, touch tanks, hands-on activities that bring marine and wildlife education to life. Participants include Aquarium Encounters, Dolphin Research Center, Friends of the Marine Sanctuary, Save a Turtle, and The Turtle Hospital.
The Pigeon Key Foundation’s mission includes historical preservation of the Island and the Keys heritage plays a part in the two-day celebration with support from the Key West Art and Historical Society, Historic Tours of America (HTA) and the Friends of Old Seven. On Saturday there will be story-telling and period re-enactors that will help visitors understand the historical significance of this cultural landmark. Festival goers are encouraged to retain their admission ticket stubs and redeem them for a half-price ferry trip within one week of the show to experience Pigeon Key themselves.
Of course, as an Art Festival there will be ample art, as well. In addition to the fine artists and craftsmen offering everything from paintings to pottery, furniture to heirloom jewelry, there will be a raffle art auction, live art paintings and demonstrations.
Booths will close at 5 pm on Friday so the fine art auction can take place. Guests can bid on one-of-a-kind pieces donated by some of the most talented artists in the country. The fun continues as Howard Livingston & the MM24 Band take the Marathon Park band shell stage.
This all original trop rock group has been on the fast track, growing from the most popular band in the Florida Keys to clearly a favorite nationwide. Admission is included in the Festival entry donation for this family-friendly event. “The concert is an opportunity for the community to hang out and get to know the artists, Pigeon Key Board and our supporters while listening to some great music.” explained Don Hiller, Pigeon Key Foundation Board President. Food, soft drinks and adult beverages from Stiegl, Florida Keys Brewing and First Legal Rum Distillery will be available for purchase and lawn chairs and blankets allowed.
Festival hours are 10 am to 5 pm Friday, February 2 with the fine art auction at 5:30 pm and concert 6 to 9 pm and 10 am to 6 pm Saturday, February 3. This is a departure from the usual Saturday/Sunday format in order to free up Sunday for Super Bowl celebrations. Two-day entry is $7 for adults and free for children under 12. All donations stay local to help the Foundation carry out its mission to promote and preserve History, Education and Research. Parking is free at the Marathon Community Park.