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Corey Area Craft Festival Jan. 26-27
Artists, crafters mingle with shoppers at 19th annual festival in St. Pete Beach
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Image courtesy of HOWARD ALAN EVENTS
John Raya’s Beasties of the Kingdom – such as this one, named “Pooph the Dragon,” – will be on display and available for purchase at the 19th annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival on Jan. 26-27.
ST. PETE BEACH – Some of the best crafters in the country return to the area for the 19th annual St. Pete Beach Corey Area Craft Festival on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Corey Avenue in downtown St. Pete Beach.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

This upscale event literally transforms Corey Avenue into an outdoor craft gallery. The open-air show will feature quality affordable crafts handmade in America.

A full range of craft art mediums will be exhibited and shoppers will find everything from folk art, pottery and handmade jewelry to paintings, personalized gift items and scented soaps available for purchase. The event also will include a Green Market with exotic and unique plants.

Sponsored by the Corey Avenue Merchants Association, this family-friendly craft event has become a tradition. The association sponsors a variety of community programs throughout the year, providing a showcase for local and national artists and crafters.

This year, dozens of the nation's best contemporary crafters and artists will display their creations amidst Corey Avenue’s shops and restaurants.

Arts and crafts collectors will find treasures priced for as little as $3 to as much as $3,000.

Howard Alan Events are designed to help support the arts, the Corey Avenue Merchants Association and the local economy. A portion of the proceeds benefits St. Pete Beach Corey Area Merchants.

To ensure a superior event with quality affordable original crafts, all of the local and national crafters have been hand-selected from hundreds of applicants by American Craft Endeavors, producers of the top outdoor craft festivals in the country. All of the crafters will be at the festival with their finest work, available to discuss their art and inspiration.

The juried outdoor craft showcase will include a vast array of craft media, such as folk art, pottery, handmade jewelry, personalized gifts, handmade clothing, scented soaps and body products.

Among the crafters scheduled to participate in this year’s festival are John Raya, Zack Marksz and Katherine Weisinger.

Raya began his career in art by sketching favorite comic book characters as a child. According to his website, his two passions in life – cartooning and sculpting – eventually took him to Universal Studios in California where he worked summers as a cartoonist between stints at Cal State at Fullerton where he studied the three Ds: dating, dancing and design.

With a knack for quick-sketch caricature, Raya’s art drew him to Disneyland where he would sometimes sketch up to 400 people in a single day. He next found his way to Walt Disney World in Florida, where as an art director he was responsible for artists operations in the theme park. In 1975, Raya began developing his Beasties of the Kingdom series.

Marksz, a fine jewelry crafter, maintains sustainable practices by getting his silver from Hoover and Strong, which provides 100 percent recycled material. Zack's father has been a full-time professional silversmith and jewelry artisan since the late 1960s and he has been apprenticing under him for more than 10 years. He also has gleaned much of his skills from his two uncles and aunt who are also silversmiths and jewelry artisans that apprenticed under his father.

Weisinger uses real flowers and leaves in her jewelry. They are protected from fading by enriching the original color. Each petal and leaf is delicately hand-painted using lacquer, 24-karat gold and sterling silver.

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