By Suzy Kridner
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- An extra day has been added to IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts, when the three-day event opens here Friday, Jan. 25.
"I've always wanted to do it on Friday," said Nance Casey Koch, festival coordinator for the past seven years.
IMAGES has been extended to 2 to 6 p.m. Friday at Riverside Park with many of the 225 artists set up, food trucks and the Marc Monteson Quintet playing music from the Big Band era from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on the IMAGES Live! stage, Ms. Koch said.
The 37th annual festival is from Jan. 25-27 in the park and along Canal Street.
A potpourri of artists will display works in wood, painting, glasswork, jewelry, leather, ceramics, photography, sculpture, fiber, mixed media and fine crafts.
"Visitors to IMAGES Friday can register at the information booth by 5 p.m. for a $500 IMAGES gift card that will be given out at the end of Friday," she said. The gift card can be spent Saturday or Sunday with any of the artists exhibiting during the weekend.
The information booth will be located in the median on Riverside Drive.
"We are so pleased to add this additional time on Friday for IMAGES," said Laura Beckwith, IMAGES chairman. "Each year our audience and artist applications have grown, so this expansion is a logical step in the continued success of IMAGES and the availability for the community."
Food trucks will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, maybe earlier, said Ms. Koch. They are from Gnarly Surf Bar and Grill, JB's Fish Camp & Restaurant and Lil' Neal's BBQ. There is a food court Saturday and Sunday.
IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts, brings 225 juried artists from around the country and draws more than 40,000 visitors to the show in Riverfront Park and along historic Canal Street, according to Ms. Koch.
"Saturday there's a children's show at 10:45 a.m. with Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds, and a children's tent all weekend with several activities so they will go home with something they created," Ms. Koch said. There will be one face painter Friday and two throughout the weekend.
"The weather was beautiful last year. I hope we didn't use it all up," she said.
Saturday and Sunday, visitors may stroll the park, enjoy the art and the entertainment Saturday including guitarist and vocalist Brad Sayre, Kayonne Riley and the Downtown Trio, and Mosiac, World Music.
Sunday's entertainment includes the Singing Strings, Junkanoo Bahamian Ensemble, UCF Flying Horse Organ Trio with Jazz Professor Michael Wilkinson on trombone, Lawrence App, and Bobby Mercer Road Show, a Vegas Style Show Band.
After walking around the festival, visitors can relax and enjoy select wines and beers in a tent to the north of the IMAGES Live! stage.
The Creative Education area includes hands-on projects for the kids, and a view of artwork of talented students in Southeast Volusia, themed around "Viva 500!" Their artwork celebrates Viva Florida 500 that marks 500 years of historic people, places and events since the arrival of Juan Ponce de Le-n to the land he named La Florida in 1513.
Artists are eligible for The Patron's Choice Awards, totaling $70,000 in 2012, which demonstrates community support for the festival. Patrons may still sign up.
Patron's Choice Awards are given by individuals or businesses who commit to spending a minimum of $200 on artwork at the festival and who make a $150 tax-deductible donation.
For more information on the patron's program, call (386) 423-4733
In addition, $22,500 in prize money is given to artists selected by this year's judges: Stefan Alexandres, a sculptor and jeweler who teaches at the Crealde School of Art in Winter Park, and Michael W. Haga, associate dean at the College of Charleston's School of the Arts.
Winners will be announced Saturday night at the Artists' dinner at the Brannon Center.
Parking is available on Canal Street, Sams Avenue, Magnolia Street, Andrews Street, North Riverside Drive, and in the Chamber of Commerce parking lot at 115 Canal Street. Parking attendants will be available to assist.
Handicapped parking is under the South Causeway overpass accessible at Lytle and Magnolia Streets.
IMAGES is from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 25.
It is free.
More information and the entertainment schedule are available at www.imagesartfestival.org