THE TOWN THAT SAVED AN ART SHOW

By: Steve Romano

In early 2014, Cocoa Beach not only lost its fantastic Air Show but also lost its Downtown Art Show after they decided to move to the Port. Mayor Dave Netterstrom called for volunteers to meet at the Country Club and figure out some kind of an event to do over the Thanksgiving weekend. We, a small band of brothers and sisters, decided the best course of action would simply be to have OUR own Art Show. Why not? It had been ongoing for 50 + years and we knew we had the Turkey Trot as a partner. The City was behind us, including Police and Fire (who, by the way, rock the show with their chili). So we formed a Board of Directors and drew up By-Laws. It was not easy… there were arguments, we had people quit, we were a dysfunctional family BUT the group stuck together. 

We were lucky because we had Cindy Kelley, who was a previous director with the old show, and she knows her stuff! We needed the money and were lucky to get Connors Wealth Management, The Margaret Heins, Keystone Engineering, Carl Coddington Insurance, however that year most of the money came from the TOWN! Yeah, we had generous donations from Emma Hosmer, Jim Dale, Tom McGuire and a few others, but the beautiful thing happened when I posted on my facebook page, WAKE UP COCOA BEACH, telling the people come Thanksgiving weekend the turkeys would be trotting, the firemen were going to be making chili, the kettle corn was going to popping, the bands were going to play, the children would have a place to do crafts and the Artists were going to be great, but we needed help! I asked the town to drop off money or checks to my office. I didn’t care if it was $5, $10, $20 or more – just bring it. I cannot begin to tell you how moved I was over the many weekends that followed. People would stop and tell me how thankful they were the show was going on. People would just hand me cash, lots of it. I handed Bill Ross so many wadded-up $5, $10 and $20’s. The rest of the team did a wonderful job: Byron Evetts, Tim & Courtney Tumulty, Patti Drake, and Julia George. On the morning of the show, the MVP showed up, Mother Nature, who graced us with the most beautiful weather. I was getting ready to take the stage to welcome everyone and introduce the great local band “Aqua Nuts” when Tim Tumulty stopped me and said, “Look at this place!” Artists lined the streets, handfuls of food trucks wafted their delicious aromas, plus there was a beautiful stage. He looked at me and said he could not believe what we had accomplished – then things got emotional. I told him to get it together and took the stage. The first thing I noticed to the west was how beautiful the ocean was, and then when I looked down the street at all the Artists and the people I started to tear up. So, instead of some long-winded speech I just blurted out, “WELCOME TO THE COCOA BEACH ART SHOW and let’s enjoy Aqua Nuts!” 

What a great weekend it was…it was and IS the people’s show. 

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