About the Festival

Gainesville Downtown Festival & Art Show

The nationally recognized Downtown Festival & Art Show transforms downtown Gainesville into a masterful blend of art, music and entertainment and draws a crowd of more than 100,000. Presented by the City of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, the festival celebrates its 36th anniversary in 2017. For two days, visitors can leisurely stroll through historic downtown and marvel at works from 240 of the nation’s most talented artists, who display their original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, captivating sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. With such a diverse array of unique art displayed for sale and competition, the Downtown Festival & Art Show is a great way to purchase one-of-a-kind art for you or a friend. On Saturday, Nov. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can meet the exhibiting artists, enjoy live music and sample international cuisine. Since its creation, the Downtown Festival & Art Show has risen dramatically in national rankings. Since 1996, it has ranked among the top festivals in the nation and has steadily climbed in rankings in recent years. The Downtown Festival & Art Show was ranked No. 24 on Sunshine Artist magazine’s “200 Best” list of top fine arts festivals in the nation.

Performing Arts

Children's Art

Culinary Arts

Young Artists (7-18 Years Old)

Frequently Asked Questions

The festival is recognized not only for its art but also for its entertainment. Music from local bands and solo musicians features a blend of folk, jazz, country, pop and soul genres on four stages of continuous entertainment throughout the weekend. Dance companies also catch the eyes of the crowd with ballet, jazz, modern and international dance performances.

The Festival weekend kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. in downtown Gainesville at the Bo Diddley Plaza with a free Downtown Blues Concert presented by the North Central Florida Blues Society.

While adults explore art booths and listen to music, children can unleash their artistic talents and get creative at the “Imagination Station,” a free, hands-on art activity area. They can design masks, paint their own masterpieces, create puppets, sculpt clay and draw with sidewalk chalk. These are just a few of the activities in which children will be able to artistically express themselves. If they’re looking for entertainment, children can sit back and enjoy puppet shows, magic acts and music performances that are sure to bring smiles to their faces. Art Education students from the University of Florida work diligently throughout the fall semester to produce this creative and inspirational experience for children of all ages.

Food booths mingle with artist booths at the festival, attracting customers with mouth-watering treats varying from creamy, homemade ice cream to crisp, golden blooming onion. Visitors can also taste authentic Pad-Thai cuisine, sweet barbecue ribs, hearty Mediterranean pitas and Cajun jambalaya. With nearly 20 food vendors, the Festival incorporates many multicultural dishes to satisfy anyone’s appetite!

Young artists (ages seven to eighteen) are joining a tradition of artistic excellence to showcase their talent as the 36th Annual Downtown Festival & Art Show honors young and aspiring artists in the new Young Artist section.

Dogs on leashes are permitted.

Parking in the City parking garage is located, 2 blocks west of Main Street. Cost is $1.00 per hour with $6.00 maximum 6am – 6pm and $5 flat fee 6pm – 6am. It is open 24 hours a day. For more parking information: http://gvilleparking.com/