It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Siesta Key's sands are stellar. Just the same, beach connoisseurs and travel experts (not to mention a team of scientists and "Dr. Beach," an esteemed coastal geologist) have long sung the praises of Siesta's sand.
When Siesta Key swells with visitors and part-time residents during "season," Siesta's sand is only partly responsible -- after all, it doesn't take a magnifying glass to spot the bold charms of Siesta Key Village.
An eclectic gathering of shops, restaurants and bars serving colorful tropical drinks, the Village is just a hop and a skip from what the Travel Channel boasts is one of "America's Best Beaches."
With its own fine blend of local color and merchandise, Siesta Key Village is party central for events that celebrate life on the beach. For a beachin' good time, look no further than the Siesta Fiesta.
Daiquiris and sand have their ideal blends, as do spacious, sun-loving block parties such as Siesta Fiesta, a local tradition combining business and beach along with equal parts arts and music for more than 30 years.
Held each April, this sprawling arts and crafts event hosted by the Siesta Key Village Association shuts down the key's "main drags," Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road.
Here, artists, craftsmen, sculptors, jewelry-makers and purveyors of fine art and music set up against the Gulf's azure backdrop -- and stay all weekend.
The streets teem with friends and family as Siesta Fiesta invites all to shuffle sandy-footed through a market of several hundred booths and displays. From ceramics to bronze and copper sculptures to photographs, a spectrum of projects and pieces to fit every taste and budget awaits.
This good time, like its attendant works of art and objects, is carefully crafted. In spirit, Siesta Fiesta is a walk on the beach, but its exhibitors have been handpicked from hundreds of local and national applicants. Siesta Fiesta is a juried show, so top-quality work and craftsmanship are as prized as the famed sands. Crafters and creators here welcome questions and conversation about everything from their original work to its inspiration.
Since exhibitors are required to participate in both days of the show, they have plenty of time to discuss their techniques or even the commission of a particular piece.
But it's not all talk. Musicians are on hand, too, both in the street and from the open decks of the Village's many restaurants. Like the creative wares, the live music is an artful combination of styles and voices, with musicians selling CDs alongside the photography and pottery or simply strumming it up for the party.
You won't leave with an empty stomach, either. Siesta Fiesta's proximity to lunch spots such as Daiquiri Deck and Siesta Key Oyster Bar will remind you that this picturesque island community is in full beach mode year-round.
Siesta Fiesta's food court offers popular open-air fare, too, and a bountiful green market is part of the show. Soaps, candles and pet gear also round out the serving of practical and functional wares.
Siesta Fiesta is a celebration for visitors and locals alike. While the event is known for being a goodbye party for our snowbirds, it is also a local celebration of the paradise we experience all year long.
If you go:
Contact the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce at 941-349-3800 or visit www.siestakeyvillage.org.