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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Season Begins in Tallahassee

Christmas ornaments crafted from empty shotgun shells to landscapes painted by artists of the highly acclaimed Florida Highwaymen ( and everything in between) are found during Tallahassee's Market Days. An annual event organized by the Tallahassee Museum features more than 300 artists over a two-day period at the North Florida Fairgrounds.

Thousands of my Tallahassee neighbors and I shopped at Market Days to find those perfect holiday gifts. I didn't do much Christmas shopping here, but did pick up a few items. The first hour I was there (arrived at noon) it was insanely packed. But as time passed, the crowd thinned and I could move freely down the aisles.

In addition to the incredible crafts, paintings and other treasures, all sorts of meat-on-a-stick and fried delectables were served up, in addition to kiosks from the area's top restaurants, like Lucy Ho's Oriental Bistro (yummy!).

Later that evening, I joined a friend at the 20th Annual Winter Festival (along with thousands of others). Tallahassee Mayor John Marks opened the event with the lighting of more than 500,000 lights, followed by Jingle Bell Runners donning lighted Santa hats sprinting, jogging and walking down Monroe Street for the 3K race. While the lighted area is a spectacular, the Winter Festival Parade is a site to enjoy and lasted at least 90-minutes with 130 entries.

Below is Florida Highwaymen artist RL Lewis working on another masterpiece. Pysanky artist Kelly Milko explains her craft (it takes her about two hours to decorate an egg with careful precision - no room for error) and a display of her intricate gems and a shot from Tallahassee's Winter Festival.

Hope I'm in town for next year's Market Days!