Coconut Grove’s beloved Mad Hatter Arts Festival, in its 11th year, took place over the weekend at the Barnacle Historic State Park, complete with an artisans’ village and vintage market.
Local arts and crafts vendors sold everything from paintings and prints, to teas and jams. Vintage objects, from Buddha statues to life-size Santa Claus dolls, along with vinyl records and antiques were also displayed and available for purchase, though the rain left vendors scrambling to cover their goods.
Keeping true to the event’s namesake, many people wore their zaniest, funkiest hats, an ode to characters in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Some little girls dressed as Alice, an adult dressed as a hookah-smoking caterpillar, and others used fabrics and glue to make “mad hats” to enter in the event’s hat contest.
The movie Alice in Wonderland was shown Sunday night on the Barnacle’s lawn overlooking Biscayne Bay. The Bookstore in the Grove went mobile for the event and sold used books out of the back of an antique pickup truck, offering a free pineapple with the purchase of three books.
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Artist Trish Jesselli, who paints pet memorials and makes colorful textiles, was a judge in this year’s hat contest. She wore a purple hat, adorned with a cut-out of a tabby, made to resemble the grinning Cheshire Cat, a teapot and a Barbie doll, who represented the blonde Alice. A winner of previous hat contests, she was asked to be a judge this year. She said she’ll “probably pick a kid, since they get so excited about it.”
She also said that she prefers this annual fair over commercial art fairs.
“Here, you’ll find and can meet local artists. At the big art fairs like the Coconut Grove Arts Fest, there are vendors from all over the U.S.,” she said. “There’s camaraderie here.”