Creative Coast Weekend will grace Matlacha Friday, Saturday and Sunday as many of the businesses extend their hours and invite local artists and authors to their shops to provide demonstrations for the public.
Although Creative Coast Weekend is held during the second weekend of every month until April, February is one of the bigger months for the businesses because of the holiday and a local fund-raiser.
WildChild Gallery Owner Peggy McTeague said February is a big month for her gallery because it features 21 artists in the garden from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9 and Sunday, Feb. 10.
She said she has named this weekend "Art in the Heart" weekend because Creative Coast Weekend is held the weekend prior to Valentine's Day.
"It's my favorite weekend of the year," McTeague said because of the number of artists that are demonstrating their talent in the garden.
The featured artist, she said, will be JoAnne Smith's photography called "Wings and Things."
If You Go:
What: Creative Coast Weekend
When: Friday, Feb. 8; Saturday,
Feb. 9; and Sunday, Feb. 10
During the other months of Creative Coast Weekend, McTeague said between four to 10 artists demonstrate their artwork in the garden.
"There is always artists demonstrating every Creative Coast Weekend," she said.
McTeague said the gallery will be open until 8 p.m. Friday night and wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served from 2-8 p.m.
Bert's Pine Bay Gallery manager Deb Cole said this month's Creative Coast Weekend is also big for them as well.
"The Creative Coast Weekend is Island Pirate Fest weekend," she said.
Cole said the weekend will kick off with the Parade of Mermaids at Pine Bay Gallery at 6 p.m., which will conclude at Bert's Bar.
"We are inviting all mermaids, land lovers and mermaid lovers to come to Pine Bay," she said.
Registration for the parade will be held at Pine Bay Gallery. Cole said each individual who registers for the parade will be asked to make a donation and they will receive a sand dollar.
Cole said there was a mermaid sighting Jan. 31 in the water behind Pine Bay Gallery.
Children's author Jan DiRuzzo of "The Lost Mermaid A Shem Creek Moonlight Jamboree" will be at Pine Bay Gallery Saturday, Feb. 9. from 1-4 p.m. There will also be a guest appearance from her character, Lily the Mermaid, and her favorite pirate sidekick, Captain Joe.
Proceeds from the entire weekend will go towards From Our Hearts.
Larry Solinger, Matlacha Menagerie owner, said they normally have different vendors come out for Creative Coast Weekend, which usually includes local author D.L. Havlin.
"He has been our anchor, so to speak," he said.
Unfortunately this month, Havlin had prior arrangements, but will return in March.
Solinger said he hopes to have a local artist demonstrating her painting, as well a jewelry maker showcasing her craft this month during Creative Coast weekend.
"It gives our local vendors (the opportunity) to display their wares; it is about them just as much as it is about us," he said.
Solinger said Creative Coast Weekend is an advertisement to entice a few more people to come out and visit the businesses in Matlacha. He said it also provides the artists and authors with the opportunity to mingle with the people and speak with the public about their craft.
In addition, Solinger said they will also have an inventory reduction tent for some of the merchandise they have.
During Creative Coast Weekend, Solinger said he typically extends his hours on Friday and Saturday night.
"We normally close at 5:30 or 6. We stay open until 7 or 8 depending on the nature of the traffic," he said.
Trader's Hitching Post owner Cindee Tolliver said the Matlacha Hookers will be selling merchandise on Saturday during Creative Coast Weekend and From Our Hearts will have chance drawing tickets for sale for the 2013 Chevy Spark on Sunday.
In addition, Tolliver said they just received a new shipment of great jewelry.
"Come out and play," she said.
The extended hours for Creative Coast weekend, Tolliver said, depends on the crowd.
Elena's Homes, owner of Elena's, said she stays open until there are no people during Creative Coast Weekend, which sometimes is as late as 8 p.m.
This month she will have a 10 percent off sale at the store, along with a clearance table.
Lisa Timcak, owner of Island Visions, said they will feature Joan Roberts and Ed Brown on Saturday as they demonstrate their painting. Brown will paint at Island Visions on Sunday afternoon.
Refreshments will be served during Creative Coast Weekend on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
Timcak said they have been participating since they opened Island Visions in 2007.
"It's a small little community, you got to participate," she said. "It's fun, everyone gets dressed up."
In addition to the artist, Timcak said they have a lot of new merchandise and new artwork from local artist.
"We are fully stocked with all kinds of cool stuff," she said.
Leoma Lovegrove, owner of Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens, said on Friday she will paint hearts on canvas starting at 6 p.m. live. The 7th annual event will include a heart giveaway where individuals can purchase a signed heart for $50.
The proceeds from the signed hearts will benefit the Matlacha Island Chamber of Commerce to fund to the costs of a platform to display the historical marker of the Matlacha Bridge.
Lovegrove said she is also painting "Hearts Gone Wild" live Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
"The event is public driven," she said. "I am painting any lyrics they want on my signature hearts for their Valentine."
Creative Coast Weekend will conclude with "Tucke in the Garden" from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. as Jim Tucke will perform popular music on the garden stage.
Reenie Knapp of Frill's said they usually stay open later on Friday's during Creative Coast weekend.
"We stay open later because there are more people on the street," she said.
Frill's has clothing, jewelry and hand painted furniture.
The business owners said although Creative Coast Weekend has been successful in the past, this year seems to be off to a slow start.
McTeague said the customer base does not seem to know about Creative Coast Weekend this year.
"This season is not as good as others," she said, adding that in the past they have had very good weekends.
Cole said Creative Coast Weekend has always been really successful.
"It is something that brings everyone out and brings all of us together on the island," she said. "It has always been really fun event though some years the traffic has been bad, construction going on ... we have always kept it up and it is really good for Matlacha."
Although the traffic has been reasonably good over the last 3 1/2 years that Solinger has owned his business, he said it has also been somewhat sporadic.
Before the weekend was coined as Creative Coast Weekend, it was called Art Night for many years.
"The Art Night weekends were phenomenal," Solinger said.
Homes said the event used to be fantastic due to people traveling from Naples and Punta Gorda, as well as the other islands to take part in the festivities.
"It was kind of like a big party," she said.