Artists, crowds happy at Thornebrook to be on stage again

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Debbie Hagstrom was a happy woman on Saturday – she sold her biggest coin early.

Sarah Doore, a Gainesville resident, views children's books at the 36th annual Thornebrooke Art Festival in Gainesville on Saturday.  Doore, who was attending the art festival for the first time, was hoping to find books to read to her 8-month-old baby, Felix.
Jacquelyne Collett, judge of the 36th Thornebrooke Village Art Festival, checks pieces at the Gene Gandee pottery stand in Gainesville on Saturday.  Collett said she analyzes each artist based on the originality, execution and presentation of their work.

Judy Griffin was happy too – she bought a pair of colorful fabric shoes in the mola tradition. And Roberto Quintero was happy because he sold him the shoes.

Happiness was everywhere around the Art Festival in Thornebrook on Saturday, the first big show in Gainesville since the COVID-19 pandemic canceled everything in the spring of 2020.

“It’s going well and I feel good going out for the first art festival. I love arts and crafts festivals. I really missed them, ”said Griffin, of Alachua. “The weather couldn’t be better. Now is a good time to buy Christmas stuff.

This was the 36th annual festival at Thornebrook Village in northwest Gainesville.

Joe Dorsey, owner of Hoggtowne Music and president of Thornebrook Village Association, said about 70 vendors have signed up.

The artists were particularly excited because many of them lost their income and the fun of socializing at a performance.

“The artists just needed us to tell them where and when to be and they’ll take care of everything else. It’s their show, ”Dorsey said. “The artists were hungry to have a show to collect income.”

Quintero lives in Pennsylvania but jumped at the chance to come. Quintero came to a past art show in Gainesville, where his shoes and bags sold well.

Mola is a textile craft of indigenous women from the San Blas Islands of Panama. The shoes sold by Quintero included flats, sandals, boots and sneakers.

“They’re all handmade and hand-sewn. I would say tennis (style) is probably the most popular I have now, ”Quintero. “I started doing art exhibitions in July and wanted to come here.”

Many artists come from Florida. Mary Lee, a certified origami instructor, came from Tallahassee to sell folded paper jewelry.

The designs have symbolic meanings – butterflies for luck and flowers for harmony and friendship, for example.

“I use tweezers because they are small. People love the little things, ”Lee said. “I come to Gainesville once a year for a show. It’s a cool place.

Hagstrom, from Ocala, has mixed paintings and artwork of all sizes. Some figures include cats, dogs and goddesses in a whimsical style.

“I have already sold my biggest piece so I’m happy,” Hagstrom said. “When I left this morning I was so excited. I haven’t been to a show (since COVID-19) and I was just sitting going crazy. It’s so nice to start over. “

The show continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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