Here are a few snapshots from this weekend’s Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney. This marks the fourth year I’ve attended and its smaller than it has been (especially in the folk art area), but about the same as last year (fewer bands playing). In fact, many of the same vendors with the same style and familiar, if not the exact same, pieces were back to show them off. Which makes me wonder if the Festival of the Masters hasn’t become just another stop on the traveling artist circuit and if Disney could do something more with the event.
This was also the first year I saw the event with my son, who is now four years old. He actually enjoyed a lot of it, but we had to observe most booths from the outside. The kid craft areas were appreciated. But some thought should be given as to whether the results of the craft is appropriate for toting around the rest of the day.
This year the event was running simultaneously with Super Soap Weekend at Disney-MGM Studios. Since I could only make it to Disney World one day this weekend, that meant I had to choose which event I wanted to attend. Why not spread out the events a bit and get the locals to come back again and again.
A glimpse at the selection of merchandise available to consume. I liked the design this year, but find the display in the store to be typical. Come on folks, this is an art festival, do something to wow me.
A few of the restaurants had set up booths where you could buy tapas sized portions of a few menu items (a la Food and Wine Festival). This booth was for the T-Rex restaurant that will be opening in Nov 2008. They had pictures of the Kansas City location (which looked great, if a bit too modern for the theme), sample menus, and free samples of the Mushroom Ravioli in Lobster Sauce. If that was an example of the food we can expect from T-Rex when it opens, I think I’ll be eating there as frequently as my budget allows. Man that was good.
One of the things I like the most about the event is that they really try and get the kids involved in making and appreciating art. One of my favorite things is the area, near the World of Disney store, where guests are encouraged to do some chalk painting. Some of the squares were quite good.
Around the other three sides of the World of Disney store the trained chalk artists were preparing their own masterpieces. A lot more portraits this year. However, in previously years there have always been a few artists who show their love of Disney via their topic choice. I didn’t see any that fit into that category this year.
I look forward to seeing what Disney can do with this festival next year. The event holds so much potential. A little out of the box thinking, perhaps a few larger installments, and you have the makings of something unique that will have folks talking for weeks.