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Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival celebrates its 40th year

TARPON SPRINGS This weekend, more than 200 artists and fine art craftsmen will set up along the banks of picturesque Spring Bayou in Craig Park, where they'll sell their wares and compete for a share of an $18,400 purse.

In addition to categories such as sculpture, fiber, metal, ceramics, glass, leather, mixed media, photography, acrylics and oils, a new category has been added at the request of photographers: digital art.

Renowned Tarpon Springs artist Christopher Still and WFTS-Ch. 28 meteorologist Denis Phillips will present awards during a Sunday ceremony at 11 a.m.

The city's first major public art installation in decades Ama, a 6-foot-4, anatomically correct bronze mermaid created by French sculptor Amaryllis Bataille — is expected to be installed beside Spring Bayou in time for the festival.

In 1974, Raquel Welch and Burt Reynolds were national heartthrobs, All in the Family was our favorite TV show, and the iconic Hello Kitty made her first appearance on a vinyl coin purse.

Forty years later, Hello Kitty still remains a strong brand and the same can be said for the Tarpon Springs Fine Arts Festival, also founded in '74. Organizers say about 20,000 came to last year's event.

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