ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – St. Petersburg College’s historic Palladium Theatre will be the new location for the Floridiana Festival & Highwaymen Artist Show to be held Sunday, Jan. 29.
Presented by Hula Hula Productions, the Floridiana Festival & Highwaymen Artist Show will celebrate 10 years in 2012, and while the focus of the Jan. 29 “winter show” remains on early Florida tourist memorabilia, attendees will notice a return to the eclectic offerings of earlier Floridiana Festivals, as well as the incorporation of some Hawaiiana.
“All of our exhibitors focus on vintage Florida, which also can easily blend into old Hawaiiana,” said Annette Vedsegaard-Ross, owner of Hula Hula Productions. “My husband and I lived in Hawaii before moving to Florida, and so this show is sort a hybrid of everything we appreciate about these cultures. In addition to all the roadside attraction souvenir kitsch, the merchandise for sale is typical of what could be found in an old Florida house and things that would be common in a tropical setting. Many aren’t even made anymore, and some are particularly unique, such as items made from cypress knee woods or actual alligator heads. It’s not necessarily politically correct, but it’s different!”
Many of America’s premier collectors of Floridiana will be exhibiting at the show, and attendees will find everything for sale from fun Florida travel ephemera and tacky tourist treasures like alligator handbags and flamingo figurines, to sought-after collectibles such as hand-painted jewelry with miniature Florida scenes, vintage Florida photographic art, and citrus and cigar box labels. Showgoers will discover small furnishings and lighting made of cypress knee woods, vintage wall mirrors with flamingo images, ceramic statues of tropical birds, and old Florida art. Decorators will especially enjoy the tropical backcloths, including fabulous pillows. One of the largest collections of vintage Florida license plates will be available for sale as well. It’s an interest for the heyday of Florida, and the iconic images of the past that bring people to the Floridiana Festival.
“I see people coming to the show for a sense of nostalgia, sometimes hoping to find a souvenir from some Florida tourist attraction that their family may have visited in the 1950s or ’60s, or even earlier,” said Vedsegaard-Ross. “Plus, our exhibitors are some of the most knowledgeable in this field, and are always happy to discuss the old Florida memories that go hand-in-hand with the memorabilia!”
Several Florida authors will be participating on Jan. 29. Larry Roberts, author of Florida’s Golden Age of Souvenirs: 1890 to 1930 and considered by many to be the guru of collecting old Florida memorabilia will be exhibiting and selling, as well as Ken Breslauer, author of Roadside Paradise: the Golden Age of Florida’s Tourist Attractions 1929-71 and Wayne Ayers, author of numerous Florida history books, including Tampa Bay’s Gulf Beaches: Fabulous 1950s and 1960s and St. Petersburg: The Sunshine City.
The Florida Highwaymen are an important part of Florida’s cultural legacy, and the Jan. 29 show is an opportunity to meet and mingle with these artists, who will be selling their beautiful Florida sea and landscape paintings. “I’m always happy that we can bring so many of the Highwaymen artists to this side of the state.
“When you consider that most of the artists are in their 70s and many still live in Fort Pierce or the surrounding east coast towns, it’s not that often that an event brings them over here to the west coast,” said Vedsegaard-Ross.
Artists James Gibson, Issac Knight, R.L. Lewis, Roy McLendon Sr. and Carnell Smith are some of the artists who have signed up for the show. And Florida Highwaymen art isn’t the only art that will be available, as some exhibitors will have vintage Florida paintings by lesser-known artists for sale as well. Complimentary valuations of vintage Florida paintings—including that of the Highwaymen—will be available at the show by Robert LeBlanc of highwaymen-buy-sell-trade, an appraiser and expert in the field.
Other special features include lectures and slide presentations. Dr. Gary Moss will discuss “The Culture of Aloha Shirts.” His collection of vintage Aloha shirts is featured in the Schiffer book Hawaiian Shirts: Dress Right for Paradise , and has also been exhibited at the American Textile History Museum. This interesting lecture will cover the history of Aloha shirts, what makes them collectible, and how to recognize if your shirt is valuable. Wear or carry your vintage Aloha shirts to receive a free appraisal of age and value. Several exhibitors will have vintage Aloha shirts, including “The Aloha Shirt” folks, who will have hundreds of shirts for sale at the show.
Attendees can also enjoy the lecture “Taking a Textile Trip Back in Time … to the Era of Barkcloth” by Brian Walsh, aka the “King of Barkcloth.” Walsh is a textile archeologist of sorts, having spent over two decades searching for the very best of barkcloth designs. Covered in Brian’s talk will be a discussion of an era gone and the impact barkcloth had on the designs of the time, how to differentiate new from old barkcloths and what are the most collectible patterns and colorways, plus tips on collecting and caring for vintage fabrics.
Hula Hula Productions invites everyone to come celebrate Florida’s cultural and historical legacy at the Florida Memorabilia & Highwaymen Show, Sunday, Jan. 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Palladium Theater. The Theater is located at 253 Fifth Ave. N. in downtown St. Petersburg. Show admission is $6. Lectures, slide presentations and art valuations are included in the price of show admission. For information, call Hula Hula at (727) 421-0441 or visit www.hulahula.biz.
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