Coconut Grove Art Festival Comes Back Bigger Than Ever This Weekend

Miami's longest-running art showcase is back and bigger than ever. The 51st-Annual Coconut Grove Art Festival opens this weekend, and they've been busily preparing to welcome 380 local, national, and international artists, plus an expected 150,000 attendees. Not bad for a gathering that started as a "clothes-line" show.

This is culturally-rich fun the whole family can enjoy, and there's a lot more on the schedule than just gawking at stuffy paintings. This year, they're bringing fine art in all manner of mediums, music, food, performing arts, charity benefits, and more.

Peruse the art and work up an appetite. You're going to want to eat all you can. The Culinary Pavilion hosts local Eating House's Giorgio Rapicavoli and Food Network's "Chopped" star Paulette Bilsky who will be cooking up demonstrations starting at 11 a.m. You know you could stand to learn a trick or two from these masters.

You can digest all those tasty noms on the dancefloor as Bad Company's former singer Brian Howe hits the stage Sunday at 4:45 p.m. How "classic" does the rock have to be before it's considered fine art?

Let your kids' imaginations run wild and free at the Children's Trust Art Alley's interactive Kid's Area. Artists in training aged 2 through12 can get their get their hands dirty - so to speak - as award-winning educational arts group Abrakadoodle walks them through the styles of Picasso, Bearden, Miro, Monet and Kahlo. We see high-brow fridge decorations in your future.

But of course, the real attraction is the art from all those fancy professionals. Enjoy the best in everything from mixed media, painting, photography, digital art, printmaking, drawing, watercolor, ceramics, glass, fiber, jewelry and metalwork, and sculpture and wood works. Whew! That's an eye-full.

With so much to do, it might take you the whole three days to catch it all. The fun begins Saturday, Feb. 15, through Monday, Feb. 17. George Washington and Abe Lincoln would definitely approve of such President's Day Weekend plans. Gates are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and tickets cost $15 per day and are free for kids 12 and under. Buy them at the gate or via CGAF.com. Call 877-7-CG-ARTS for group tickets and more information.

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