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pigeon key

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 6 & 7 at the Marathon Community Park, MM49, Marathon FL. and offers more than 70 fine artists and craftsmen, delicious local cuisine and live art and auction by preeminent celebrity marine life artist, Wyland. New this year will be historical reenactments, period entertainment and educational programming highlighting the Pigeon Key Foundation’s important projects.

“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 20 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.

It was with this in mind the Festival organizers decided to invite some of the other area research organizations and create 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 and even a puppet show that bring marine and wildlife education to life. Participants include Aquarium Encounters, Dolphin Research Center, Friends of the Marine Sanctuary, Marathon Wild Bird Center @ Crane Point Hammock, Park Shore Day Camp, Save a Turtle, and The Turtle Hospital.

The Pigeon Key Foundation’s mission includes historical preservation of the Island and the Keys heritage will play a part in the two-day celebration with support from the Key West Art and Historical Society, Keys History & Discovery Center and the Friends of Old Seven. There will be story-telling and period re-enactors that will help visitors understand the historical significance of this cultural landmark. Guests are encouraged to retain their Festival 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, classes and demonstrations. Wyland returns for a second year and will create his signature drawings and auction them on the spot. “We are excited about the quality vendors at the Park this year,” related Pigeon Key Festival Chair Denise DeCrow. “We will offer a high-end shopping experience for the art connoisseur with lots to do and see for everyone.”

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. February 6 and 7. Two-day entry is $7 per person for adults and free for children under 12 and all fees 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.

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