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Festival draws 30,000 browsers

Post-Gasparilla days can be a somber time for those who relish watching pirate invasions, parades and races. For Susy Lienhart and her family, the only thing left to do was shop for home decorating ideas.

The Old Hyde Park Village Art Festival, Saturday and Sunday in Old Hyde Park Village, attracted about 30,000 people. Lienhart and her family spent Sunday at the event looking for prints to decorate their new house.

"We come to this show every year because there are so many different things to look at _ and buy _ here," Lienhart said. "Our goal today was to buy a print for my son Quinn's room, but we just keep finding other things for the rest of the house."

This was the fifth year of the art show, which features 150 artists from all over the country exhibiting works from pottery and copper vases to stained glass window decorations and cartoon character foot stools. Despite scattered showers Sunday, most vendors said the event was a success.

"We have to go on whether it rains or shines, but the buying response has been real favorable and I've sold a lot, even when it started raining," said Ron Bertocchi, who came from Oregon to sell his metal sculptures.

Lori LaPaglia came to the show from Boca Raton to sell her hand-built pottery for the third time. She prefers the Tampa show to other exhibitions because she enjoys the residents here.

"It's a different crowd over here. The people are calmer and more relaxed," LaPaglia said.

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