The snowbirds are back and seem to have brought friends this season.

All those extra people, plus a torn-up West Tampa Avenue, should make this a month to remember for residents and visitors.

Despite a detour sign and barricades, I have still seen some people put on their left-turn signal while heading north, apparently planning to turn left regardless. Go figure.

The bigger problem this week is that the sidewalk in front of Venice Theatre may be torn up. At least that was the plan as this page was being planned.

In true “show must go on” fashion, theater director Murray Chase has a solution. Patrons should take the back way via North Harbor Drive and follow detour signs that will lead them to North Nokomis Avenue.

Depending on the day and time of the performance and which stage your show is on, there will be volunteers to guide you into the theater via either the back door from the parking lot or from the side door near the Pinkerton Theatre.

Be sure to allow extra time for navigating to the theater parking lot and side streets such as St. Augustine (very limited parking) in that area.

At least two events scheduled for this weekend are well away from the road work.

The annual Jewish Food Festival will be Sunday at the Jewish Congregation of Venice on North Auburn Road east of downtown Venice. Find out all about it in Saturday’s Venice Gondolier Sun.

The other really big annual event happening on the weekend is the 17th annual Fine Arts Show & Sale at the Venice Art Center, 390 S. Nokomis Ave., several blocks south of the downtown business district, on the city’s Cultural Campus.

The center’s neighbors include the Venice Community Center, the Venice Museum & Archives and the wonderful new William H. Jervey Jr. Venice Public Library.

In virtually every corner of every room at the Center visitors will find wonderful works of art: photos and pottery and paintings and jewelry and stained glass and mixed media and so much more. The creators of all those wonderful items will be glad to talk with you about what they do.

Look for work by photography instructor Michael Radomski, who will talk about some of his adventures on the road in search of the perfect picture as well as about the classes he teaches. His specialty is digital photography. You can find Michael in the side gallery along the Nokomis Avenue side of the center.

Several jewelry designers will be there, selling earrings and pins and necklaces. They, too, will be willing to chat about their work and what makes it unique.

Jewelry artisans seem to use everything and anything to make stunning works of art that can enhance almost any outfit. Find them throughout the center.

One of them is Jane Kirwin, “the Cross Lady.” While she does create smaller cruicifixes that can be worn as necklaces, Kirwin also crafts stunning crosses suitable for hanging on a wall or a Christmas tree. No two are alike and each is spectacular in its own way. Kirwin’s booth is in the big room off the back hallway.

The Pat Buster Gallery will have a variety of booths featuring jewelry and pottery plus paintings, giclee prints, oils, acrylics, watercolors, fabric and objects made of wood. Don’t stop there, however, or you will miss two-thirds of the show.

Not only is there more art in the hallway next to the Outdoor Cafe, but continue through either of those side hallways and turn a few corners to discover so much more. Every classroom space will become exhibit space for the weekend.

Many of the artists may be local to this area but they also have national reputations for their skill. I never cease to be amazed by the work to be found at that wonderful building.

Many of the artists also do custom work, so if you like someone’s work but want something a little different or for a special color scheme, talk to the artist.

They will be glad to discuss special projects with you or set up an appointment for a less hectic time.

Should you become hungry, head through the Pat Buster Gallery to the Outdoor Cafe, which will be serving up wonderful sandwiches and more during the festival.

It is no wonder that thousands of art fans attend the show each year.

The sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The suggested admission is $2 for Center members, $3 for nonmembers. Bring cash or your checkbook as many of the vendors do not accept credit cards.

This also is a great time to consider joining the art center. There are categories for students ($20 a year), individuals ($60), couples ($75) and families ($100).


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