St. Petersburg a mecca of arts

Florida isn’t necessarily the first destination that comes to mind when you’re trying to find a place to enjoy the arts. A look at upcoming and current events in St. Petersburg shows, however, that the sunshine state has a lot more to offer than beaches and dog tracks. And historic St. Petersburg is especially promising.

The American Stage, St. Petersburg’s professional theatre, is staging a production of William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” in a beautiful outdoor setting from April 9 to May 15. The performances on the waterfront at Demens Landing have been offered since 1984 and are enjoyed by more than 25,000 fans annually. For more information, call 727-823-1600.

On the April 17th weekend, almost 300 artists set up in picturesque downtown St. Petersburg for the annual Mainsail Arts Festival, nationally ranked as one of the “100 Best Fine Art Shows” in the United States. This free festival features visual exhibits in seven categories, craft demonstrations, a popular children’s arts activity centre, live entertainment and a culinary arts food court area. Some 90,000 people attended the festival in 1998. For more information, call 727-892-5197.

ThFlorida International Museum in St. Petersburg features the largest exhibit of Peruvian artefacts ever on display in the United States in Empires of Mystery: The Incas, The Andes and Lost Civilizations, which runs through April. The exhibit leads guests on an “Indiana Jones” style journey through archaeological digs focusing on 35 ancient cultures. The scenes feature gold and ceramic artefacts and three mummies. For more information, call 727-822-3693.