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Diggin’ the Arts is hands-on family fun
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Visitors browse vendor booths while strolling along McKay Creek Plaza at the Florida Botanical Gardens during the 2012 Diggin’ the Arts festival.
LARGO – Visitors can bring the entire family to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a wide array of art activities at the third annual Diggin’ the Arts festival Sunday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Diggin’ the Arts features hands-on activities including art and gardening demonstrations and a live on-site painting competition, as well as garden tours, vendors, booths, music and refreshments.

Local museums and art centers participating include the Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, Morean Arts Center for Clay, Florida Craftsmen, Dunedin Fine Art Center, Suntan Art Center and the Beach Art Center.

Visitors will enjoy activities like working with clay, pastels, painting and garden-oriented art projects appropriate for adults and children.

Visitors also can stroll through the gardens as artists compete in the plein air, or open-air, juried painting competition.

Veteran and budding artists alike are invited to capture the beautiful vistas and scenes along the paths of the Florida Botanical Gardens. There is a $10 fee for each canvas entry. A Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation staff member must stamp each entry. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with painting beginning at 10 a.m. Judging will start at 3 p.m. Best of show is $200, first prize $150, second prize $100 and two merit award winners will receive gift cards from the Florida Botanical Bounty gift shop.

New this year, an instrument petting zoo will delight young and old while adding the dimension of music to the theme of the multiple arts. The Florida Orchestra and North Suncoast Associates will provide orchestral instruments for visitors to pluck, pound and play. Children and adults also can participate in a grand finale recital at the end of the session.

The Gardens is also dedicating a water-themed metal and glass sculpture to former Foundation president Chuck Scaffidi who conceived the idea of elevating the visitor’s experience with artwork. The dedication will take place outside the east entrance of the Wedding Garden at 2 p.m.

Rain barrels decorated by each of the participating museums and art centers as well as the Florida Botanical Gardens also will be available. Donations will be accepted.

Visitors also can participate in a scavenger hunt through the gardens while stopping by each booth. Those who complete the hunt will receive a small souvenir prize donated by the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation.

Visitors also can learn about the Florida Botanical Gardens and the Gardens’ multiple cultivated and native species during one of the hourly-guided tours. Music, vendors and refreshments for purchase also will be offered.

The Florida Botanical Gardens, located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, showcases native tropical plants, hybrid roses, fruit trees, herbs, hibiscus, bromeliads and more.

Paths wind through more than 150 acres and connect with Heritage Village and the Pinewood Cultural Park campus. The gardens are open every day from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The Botanical Bounty gift store is in the Parks and Conservation Resources building. It is open Monday through Friday starting at 10 a.m. On Sunday, May 4, the Botanical Bounty gift shop will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about the Florida Botanical Gardens, visit www.f­lbg.o­rg or call 582-2100.
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