It was the Chicagoan’s first visit to the village and her Sunday afternoon tour included the usual hotspots as well as taking in the sights, sounds and ambiance of the sixth annual Harbor Arts and Music Festival.
Held recently at MarGood Harbor Park, the weekend long affair sees the grounds transformed into an open-air art show showcasing the works of painters, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, ceramicists, mixed-media artists and more.Zarlengo found the festival to be a most pleasant experience, especially the booth containing the works of Naples photographer Colleen Provost.
“We’re having a great time,” she said. “This is a great booth and we’re very relaxed, we’re happy, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the beer is cold and there are a lot of talented people.”
She owed her presence there to her friend and fellow Chicago resident, Donna Aleck, who also has a home on Marco and attends the festival every year.“This is a beautiful day and there’s Stan’s, and my girlfriends are down for a visit so we’re showing off Marco Island,” said Aleck.
Live music is also an integral part of the Harbor Arts and Music Festival, the line-up by well-known musician J.Robert. On both days, the air was filled with live music from the park’s sound stage, performed by such local favorites as Billy J and the Big Easy, the Lost Rodeo Band, Raiford Starke, Jim and Merrill Allen, Captn Jac, John Burgess, the Dock Boys and Tom “Cello-man” Porter.“There are all sorts of expressions of art and this festival is an alliance, not only of painting and photography and sculpture, but also of music,” he said. “There are strummers and jazz players, lots of original music, lots of blues, lots of just down-home Goodland country. And everybody enjoys it. You can sit in the audience and go from all originals, to all blues, to Raiford Starke. They’re all local and exceeding entertaining.” Jewelry maker Virginia Okinga, of Naples, has also been a regular Harbor Arts and Music Festival participant.
“It’s been a great day, a great weekend, lots of folks; everybody’s having a good time,” she said on the festival’s final day. “It’s one of my favorite events. I love Goodland and all the folks that come to Goodland. They’re always supportive of this art show as well, so it’s just pleasant. And the folks who put on the art show are very professional and they just make it a great time with all the music and good food. I mean, it couldn’t be better.”The festival is sponsored by the Goodland Arts Alliance, along with Collier County Parks and Recreation.
Painter Tara O’Neill, of the Alliance, declared the festival a resounding success, especially after the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma in September. “We really are the little village that could,” she said. “Everybody worked really hard. We’re a smaller show than usual because of the hurricane. A lot of artists couldn’t come back a lot of artists just couldn’t get involved because they’re too busy handling their destruction. The ones that did come, did so beautifully and the crowds have been wonderful. People are buying so they’re supporting our little village and that’s important.”