MARATHON, Florida Keys More than 80 nationally recognized fine artists and craftspeople are to exhibit their creations at the 16th annual Pigeon Key Art Festival scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 6-7, at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside in Marathon.

The critically acclaimed festival is named for Pigeon Key, a small island beneath the Old Seven Mile Bridge that housed workers constructing the Overseas Railway in the early 1900s. The picturesque island was the festival’s original setting, but the event was relocated due to planned repairs to the old bridge.

The festival’s participating artists and artisans generally show work with a tropical theme, and special efforts are made to feature sought-after artists new to the event. Periodically during the two-day show, artists demonstrate their skills for attendees to observe.

Organizers expect the park will be virtually canvassed in watercolors, oil paintings, acrylics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, graphic arts, pottery, glass and other fine art with Florida themes.

Marathon Community Park’s amphitheater comes alive with live music throughout the two-day festival, and food and beverage booths feature local delicacies and sweet treats. The park offers abundant open space for art lovers who want to picnic or simply sit and listen to music.

Marathon’s Rocket Man, Rocky Hudson, is to emcee both days. Saturday he will play his own brand of island music, calypso, country and oldies, along with another Keys favorite, Tommy Tunes. New this year is a musical couple called Patchouli, whose groove is described as Joni Mitchell meets Santana.

Scheduled Sunday morning, Feb. 7, is Brian Roberts, and in the afternoon Patchouli returns for more musical entertainment, as well as longtime local favorite Dave Feder, a self-described “hillbilly flamenco guitarist.”

An art raffle beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday concludes the weekend.

Festival admission is $7 per person for adults, $3 for students and free for children under 12. Event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, with free parking and shuttles available from 33rd Street bayside.

Festival goers can retain their ticket stubs and use them for free admission for a ferry trip to Pigeon Key, good for one year.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Pigeon Key Foundation.

For more information, call 305-289-9555, e-mail reneeshain1@hotmail.com or visit www.pigeonkey.net.

To find out about area accommodations, call the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce at 305-743-5417 or 800-262-7284, or visit www.fla-keys.com.

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