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Gifford Lane: An Art Stroll That Actually Has Some Heart

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There's a reason the grassroots crowd loves the Gifford Lane Art Stroll. For one, it's still enough under the radar that it doesn't attract snooty types.

Once a year, the thousands who flock to this sun-dappled corner of Coconut Grove gather at a street tented under a canopy of leaves for an experience that transports visitors to the old-fangled vibe the funky nabe was once famous for.

Now in its 14th edition, the spunky event will feature the arts and crafts of close to seventy area talents. And you won't have to deal with the elbowing hordes of Wynwood or the snippy Euro trash that can make the hoity toity December art fairs a drag.

Instead, the free hootenanny, taking place this Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. on the sleepy stretch of Gifford Lane between Oak and Day Avenues (3200 block), boasts a laid back bazaar environment featuring stuff you can actually afford.

"The thing is," says Trina Collins one of the founders of the Stroll, "at lots of arts festivals, artists are primarily interested in showing their work. At the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, artists come here to sell their work, and sell they do. The price is right. The quality's good. It is rare to see a person at the Stroll who doesn't have some new treasure tucked under their arm walking up the lane."

Collins says newbies to the Grove's "other art festival" can expect to encounter sculpture, portraits, sea and landscapes paintings, tile mosaics, large abstract works, photography, mixed media, jewelry, and "several art forms that as yet have no name."

Adding to the quirky Stroll's quaint charms, the works will be displayed everywhere in the lush tropical setting, from "people's front porches to trees, ladders, and clotheslines."

Oh, and let's not forget Gifford Lane's famous Cucumber Punch that draws fans of the savory concoction to the cool little art party in droves.

"We are famous for the punch but also have live music nonstop all afternoon," chimes Collins. "This year our headliner is Josh Rowand, 'The Pit Bull of Blues,' the Sam Sims Trio and folk and rock tunesmiths, the Solar Dogs," Collins adds.

Collins mentions that proceeds of the sales of Gifford Lane's lip-smacking cuke libation and tasty treats also benefit a grand cause.

"The Art Stroll gives away all of the profit taken in from the sale of cucumber punch, broiled burgers, hot dogs, grilled shrimp, wonderful ribs and, of course, tons of art," Collins says. "Over the years, the Stroll has donated more than $40,000 to two Grove charities -- the St. Stephen's AIDS Ministry and the St. Alban's Child Enrichment Center in the Grove Village West."

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