Downtown Crowd

Foo Foo Fest

A NEW KIND of festival is coming to Pensacola—one that combines previously established events with new concepts and is presented to residents and visitors under one exciting banner. The members of Arts, Culture and Entertainment (ACE), Inc. had the idea for a fall arts and culture festival that would last 12 days and celebrate the best that Downtown Pensacola has to offer. ACE also awarded grants to 15 area arts and culture organizations to enhance, extend or create events during this special period. Currently, more than 35 events are planned for this 12-day span, with more than enough to keep people of any taste excited and engaged. Here are some events that we here at Downtown Crowd are especially excited about:

The annual craft beer festival is a great time for those who love local arts and crafts, fun games and, of course, craft brews. The festival features unlimited tasting of more than 200 craft beers from around the world including beer from breweries such as Kona, Sam Adams, and Pensacola Bay Brewery just to name a few.

“The Pensacola Craft Beer Festival is located in the beautiful Community Maritime Park on Main Street,” said Whitney Fike, who handles marketing and communications for the event.

The fest takes place Nov. 14 and 15, and tickets cost anywhere from $10 to $100. The entertainment lineup includes blues, rock and country music. Fike said she expects the Foo Foo Fest banner to add even more participation than in years past.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen the numbers of attendees continue to grow and expect that trend to continue this year,” said Fike. “The additional marketing from the Foo Foo Fest has already garnered awareness of our festival to those looking at other events for the week. Foo Foo Fest has reached out to shoulder markets and I think we’ll see an influx of attendees because of their efforts.”

Hosted by Pensacon, the comic and pop culture convention that took Pensacola by storm in its inaugural year earlier in 2014, Pop Expo takes place at Seville Quarter from noon to 10 pm Nov. 15. Admission is free, but a nonperishable food donation is requested. All profits and food donations will benefit Manna Food Pantries. The streets will be lined with vendors, artists, food, cosplay, performances, demonstrations, and more, in a festival atmosphere.

“We really want this to be a sort of mini-Pensacon,” said Manda Manning, director of marketing for Pensacon. “Other big conventions across the country have a smaller event midway between their annual festivities, and we thought Foo Foo Fest would be the perfect fit.”

The Pensacon staff are working hard to ensure this event is just the first of many, and that children and adults will be able to enjoy the festival. Pop Expo is a family-friendly happening that features guests sure to delight all ages. Pensacon 2014 guest and Winston Zeddemore in Ghostbusters , Ernie Hudson is a featured guest of the event and will be available for autographs and pictures. In celebration of Ghostbusters ’ 30th anniversary, there will be a free outdoor screening at 7 pm of the film with special introduction from Hudson. Immediately before the screening, there will be an allages costume contest on stage at 6 pm.

“We’re very excited to be putting this event on for Pensacola as part of Foo Foo Fest. Think of this as Geek Gallery Night, with more of a focus on pop culture and more family friendly activities,” said Mike Ensley, Pensacon chairman.

The Back on the Blocks party is an homage to the past with a fresh update for the future. In the 1970s, the radio station WBOP used to host musical block parties where residents and visitors alike could come and party in and around area businesses, which included doctors’ offices, lawyers’ offices, restaurants and more. Now, thanks to a Foo Foo Fest grant, the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood association is bringing back the block party idea Nov. 11-15 from the midafternoon to late at night. The five-day celebration will feature arts, music, dance and film and highlight African-American culture.

“This area used to be a focal point of the community, and we want that to return,” said John Powell, who helped organize the event. “When we had a party, the party was there. It is our hope to be able to do it every year, and this is our launch point. It has been our dream for a long time to do this.”
Some people call it special augmented reality. Some call it a three-dimensional projection. At DTC , we call it awesome. Thanks to a grant, Artel Gallery will host Paintscaping, a projection company from Los Angeles that has developed a Pensacola-specific installation for the Artel building. As the crowds gather Nov. 6 – 9, from 7 to 9:30 pm, they will be able to witness the iconic building as it suffers simulated cannonball blasts, hurricane winds and more. 3D projection is an emerging art form that allows artists to make any surface their canvas. Video images are projected onto irregular surfaces – most often buildings. The projection presents an alternate reality of what is on, or in, the space.

“This most often happens in big cities like LA or New York or Las Vegas,” said Suzanne Robbert, president of Artel. “We worked with UWF and Paintscaping to bring this project to life. It has been a dream of ours since 2010.” The installation, called A Tale of Five Flags , will last five to eight minutes. The immersive history lesson will feature humor, live performers and other surprises. “This is going to excite a lot of people,” said Robbert.

For more Foo Foo Fest events, check out pages 32 through 37 and look for the special Foo Foo icon!