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Scotoberfest celebrates Dunedin's heritage, Stirling Commons' grand opening

DUNEDIN

Start with German bratwurst, layer in a Scottish parfait, add a mug of beer (or two) and a heaping handful of art. Sweeten to taste with some Gummi bears and enjoy the music and festivities. • It's Scotoberfest, a bash to mark the official grand opening of Stirling Commons, the renovated two-building complex on the southwest corner of Main and Broadway.

The once-abandoned community center has been expanded and remodeled to reflect the ambience of the Scottish downtown. It now houses an artists' colony and some Dunedin Fine Art Center classrooms.

Downstairs, retail shops include a tavern, a deli and cafe, a garden boutique, and shops where you can find unique beads and gemstones, learn to design stained-glass pieces or decorate pottery.

Next door, the former Discus Building contains a candy store, coin shop and some offices.

Developer Joe Kokolakis said he and some others were having a beer at Rosie's Tavern and talking about being 100 percent leased when they decided to have a party to celebrate.

"And in order to differentiate it from the 500 other Octoberfests going on, we came up with Scotoberfest. It's going to be a big party and, hopefully, a tradition."

The two-day festival runs today and Saturday. A ribbon-cutting with local officials and the City of Dunedin Pipe Band is slated for 6 p.m. today. Live music, art, food, premium and microbrew beers, and a few kilt-wearing barbarians should keep things lively.

Retailers will offer specials, and visitors who drop by all the shops can enter a drawing to win a variety of items and gift certificates.

At the Candy Bar Sweets and Treats shop, owners Marsha Goins and Patti Coleman were trying to decide what kind of free samples they'd share during the celebration.

Gummi bears? Ah, German.

Whiskey Lovers chocolate? It pairs nicely with Scotch whisky.

Chocolate cranberries? Well, they're "fall-ish."

How about some bacon-and-cheese-flavored crickets? That's crickets. As in chirping insects.

"They taste like popcorn," Goins said. "You just have to be careful to not get the wings and legs stuck in your teeth."

Across the parking lot from the store and upstairs, festivalgoers can check out the Stirling Art Studios and Gallery, which houses a dozen art studios, displays of itsy bitsy works of art housed by the Miniature Art Society of Florida, and a couple of classrooms.

Artists will be on hand to discuss their work and techniques.

Recently, Dunedin muralist and painter Steve Spathelf was in his workspace painting a commissioned piece he called a "barbe-cutie," something along the style of the 1950s pinup girls.

Some may recall it was he and Goins who were behind the mysterious orange murals that started cropping up along storefronts in downtown Dunedin.

It started a trend, and requests are still coming in.

"Since that time, I've painted dozens and dozens of oranges around Dunedin," Spathelf said.

Joey Morgan, owner of the Art from the Heart Café, a paint-your-own-pottery shop, was found loading a kiln with bisque decorated by her customers.

She said the store will offer face-painting for children Saturday afternoon and discounted studio fees.

Keith Becker, owner and chef at Broadway Deli & Café, was blending real whipped cream, honey and Glen Moray single-malt Scotch whisky into an iced stainless-steel mixing bowl. It will be the body for a Scottish parfait he plans to serve with German fare such as bratwurst, sauerkraut and spicy mustards.

He also plans to serve Lorne sausage sandwiches made from ground beef, ground pork and his own seasonings. "It's every man's sausage sandwich in Scotland," he said.

Reach Terri Bryce Reeves at treeves@tampabay.rr.com.

Scotoberfest

What: A grand-opening celebration thrown by the merchants at Stirling Commons with food, beer, raffles, art, specials and music.

Where: The southwest corner of Main and Broadway in downtown Dunedin.

When: 5 to 11 p.m. today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. The fest continues 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Scotoberfest celebrates Dunedin's heritage, Stirling Commons' grand opening 10/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, October 21, 2010 7:24pm]

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