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A Vibrant Return to the Riverfront

Jan 31, 2024 08:00AM ● By Ann Marie O’Phelan
On the first weekend of February, Downtown Fort Myers offers an enriching experience featuring over 200 artists, family-friendly activities, and delightful dining galleries—thanks to the 24th annual Artfest Fort Myers that takes place right on the riverfront in historic downtown Fort Myers.

Indeed, over 200 nationally recognized artists will be showcasing their work–from paintings to sculpture to glasswork and more. There will also be live entertainment throughout the weekend on the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater stage, delicious food, fun children’s art activities, and plenty more, including the annual 5K Publix Run to the Arts timed race on Sunday, February 4, 2024, starting at 8 am.

Image courtesy of ArtFest Fort Myers

This free event will also feature the Publix ArtYard: Interactive art activities hosted by various Publix and Southwest Florida art organizations and nonprofits, Publix Community Stage, located at the Calossa Sound Amphitheater, featuring live entertainment throughout the weekend, the Art Under 20 High School art competition presented by Suncoast Credit Union, and Chalk Block, a high school chalk art competition presented by Golisano and Lee Health.

“New this year are the Emerging Artist Program, spotlighting artists selected by a jury panel, presented by Mark Loren Design, and the Art Exhibitions, featuring exhibitions from professional artists, including an award-winning basket artist, painter, and more. Plus, there’s expanded dining options to serve diverse cuisines and satisfy every palate,” says Executive Director, Kathryn Robinson Kinsey.

Opening Night is Friday, February 2, and kicks off with a free Gulf Coast Symphony Pops Concert from 7 to 8:15 pm. at the Caloosa Sound Amphitheater across from the Luminary Hotel. Seating is limited, but chairs and blankets are welcome. In addition to the concert, some artists will be showcasing their work, and there will be plenty of delicious dining with beverage tents and food courts. No coolers or outside food and beverages allowed. Opening Night, Friday, February 2, 2024, 6 to 9 pm, Saturday, February 3, 2024, 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, February 4, 2024, 10 am to 4 pm. There’s plenty of parking—from garages to metered parking, and trolleys too. Find out more about this popular event: ArtFest Fort Myers, 239-768-3602,

Ann Marie O’Phelan is a SW Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media.