The Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival Returns in February 2023

by Megan Rodden

The Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival is back this year. The long-awaited Belizean festival returns on February 11th and 12th after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus.  And with so much pent-up enthusiasm for this time-honored and celebrated tradition, the 18th Annual Sidewalk Art Festival might just be the biggest and most well-attended one to date.  This beloved event typically takes place on the second weekend in February each year. For two bright and buoyant days, Placencia’s Sidewalk plays host to artisans, tradesmen, and crafters from across the country.  All means of art are on display or available for purchase. Festival-goers will be able to find everything from paintings and prints to furniture and wood carvings. Even embroidered tapestries, sculptures, pottery, photography, and hand-crafted jewelry are sure to make appearances.

What Is the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival

Caribbean Culture and Lifestyle: Placencia Sidewalk Art and Music Festival

Placencia Sidewalk – Photo Courtesy: Andrew Usher – Maya Island Air

A long standing Placencia practice, the Sidewalk Art Festival was organized and first held in 2004.  The brainchild of the Placencia Peninsula Artists Association (PPAA), the event’s purpose was to showcase the many talented local artists and the dramatically different mediums they utilize in their crafts.  An instant success, the Sidewalk Art Festival became a customary event that Placencia is nationally renowned for. 

This year’s commemorative T-Shirt design honors a founding member of the original, but now defunct, PPAA – Greta Leslie of Art & Soul Gallery on the Placencia Sidewalk.  The late Greta Leslie was passionate about art, community, and supporting fellow creatives. This is evident from the collection of works she curated in her gallery and which her daughter continues to run today.  The T-shirt’s design is from an old painting Greta made of the original Placencia Fishermen’s Co-op building and village pier. The painting also features a few wooden dories beached under coconut trees and the instantly recognizable colors of a James Bus parked along the dirt road. 

placencia sidewalk art festival 2023

Courtesy Placencia

This is a scene from a bygone era in Placencia’s history, before the influx of modern construction.  When the pier was wooden, and the road was made of dirt, fishing was the lifeblood of the community, and the Sidewalk really was the main thoroughfare of the village.  It’s a design that pays homage to what Placencia was while also celebrating what it has become today.

Enjoy Belizean Art and Music this February

Currently, Placencia’s Tourism and Information Association organizes this treasured event with collaboration from local businesses, Village Council, and community volunteers. That includes Laura Godfrey of Placencia Office Supply. She’s a local artist and community champion. 

Generous sponsorship and donations from businesses and individuals across the Peninsula assist in making this event the vibrant success and jubilant affair attendees have come to expect it to be.  

Stretching from the popular Tipsy Strip to the Point, dozens of displays and vendors will be set up along the Sidewalk.  Festivities will culminate at Placencia’s Municipal Pier. There, a line-up of live entertainment as well as the Village Council’s cash bar will provide an enticing interlude for festivalgoers.

Local artist Raquel Rodriguez paints at the Sidewalk Art Festival. Image courtesy Carolee Chanona

Musical highlights will include The Persuaders Band, Garifuna Drumming and Dancing by Watiwa Wayunagu Wawagu, and the Pantempters Steel Orchestra.  Bounce houses and face painting are among the children’s activities.  And wha’s a festival without food?  Find all manner of delicious cuisine interspersed between art and craft vendors.

Sure to delight the entire family, the festival draws visitors from near and far. Come browse, shop, drink, eat, and socialize.  The Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival will run from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, February 11th, and Sunday, February 12th. Don’t miss it!

Featured Photo courtesy Andrew Usher 

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