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Wekiva Island Paint Out – Annual Festival

11th Annual Wekiva Island Paint Out

Wekiva Island Paint Out

Artist paints ‘plein air’ during festival. Photo by Brion Price.

The 11th Annual Wekiva Paint Out is Central Florida’s most popular “plein air” arts festival. During the festival 30 world-renowned artists will create works inspired by Wekiwa Springs’ natural beauty. The event will be located at Wekiva Island at 1014 Miami Springs Drive in Longwood. The town of Longwood is just a short drive from the Kissimmee/Orlando tourist attractions.

There will be an open art gallery and live music beginning on February 27th from 5 until 9 pm and occurring nightly with additional events beginning on Wednesday, March 1st. During the week-long event, guests can participate in a live auction, enjoy complimentary beer and wine tastings, and participate in a “quick draw” workshop, led by artist Hai-Ou Hou. All of this in addition to enjoying the beautiful natural scenery and talented artists.

Most of the week’s events are free unless otherwise noted. Come out and support local non-profits while helping to preserve Orlando nature. All proceeds from art sales will benefit Keep Seminole Beautiful and the Wekiva Wilderness Trust.

Wekiva Paint Out artist

Beautiful scenery is painted during event. Photo by Brion Price.

Wekiva Island Paint Out Schedule of Events

February 26 – March 4

  • Sunday – February 26th
    Artists arrive & get settled for their week long stay at Wekiwa Springs State Park
    Artist Welcome Dinner with Artists, Patrons and Sponsors
  • Monday – February 27th
    All Day: Artists painting all day around the Island
    5-9P: Open gallery & live music
  • Tuesday – February 28th
    All Day: Artists painting all day around the Island
    5-9P: Open gallery & live music
  • Wednesday – March 1st
    All Day: Artists painting all day around the Island
    12-10p: Open gallery & live music
    6-7p: Preview event with complimentary beer and wine + craft beer tasting
    7-8P: Live Auction
    To register for Live Auction, simply email Wekiva Island with your name and number of guests. The first 25 people to register will receive a free beer or wine ticket to be used anytime.
  • Thursday – March 2nd
    All Day: Artists “paint in” around the bar
    12-10p: Open gallery & live music
    10-3p: How to Finish a Quick Draw Workshop with Hai-Ou Hou
  • Friday – March 3rd
    All Day: Artists painting all day around the Island
    12-11p: Open gallery & live music
    10-3p: How to Finish a Quick Draw Workshop with Hai-Ou Hou
    Evening Nocturne Painting at the Bar
    5-9p: Pasta Bar, $10.95/person
  • Saturday – March 4th
    10a-4p: Open gallery of work created throughout the week
    12-2p: Quick Draw open event
    6-7p: Private patron reception at Wekiva Island Wet Room/Gallery
    7-11p: All inclusive GALA dinner with live music, beer/wine and wine tasting event.
    Register to participate in Quick Draw, $25/person
    Purchase your Gala tickets, $40/person or $70/couple
Art festival at Wekiva Island

Art can be purchased during the festival. Photo by Brion Price.

If you are a collector or interested buyer, do not miss this opportunity to get a fantastic piece of art and support local non-profits. Art will continue to be sold on Sunday, March 5th, so stop by and get it before it’s gone!

Orlando Tourist Tip: The 11th Annual Wekiva Island Paint Out Gala is the main event of the weeklong festival held on Saturday, March 4th from 7 until 11 pm. During the gala, you can view and purchase works of art done throughout the week while enjoying live local music. For $40 a person, or $70 per couple guests can enjoy a special meal and carving station from Without a Paddle Cafe, as well as wine, beer, and a bonfire on the window. You will not want to miss this event! Purchase your tickets here.

History of the Wekiva Island Paint Out

A philanthropist and nature lover, William “Big Bill” Tippi started the Wekiva Invitational Plein Air Paint Out. Big Bill had an idea to produce this art event to increase awareness of one of our area’s greatest natural resources, the Wekiva River and Wekiwa Springs. Big Bill approached The Friends of Wekiva River (FOWR) and together they hosted the very first Wekiva Paint Out in March 2007 as part of the FOWR’s Riverfest celebration. Bill transferred the event over to the FOWR the following year. While no longer the host, Bill Tippit continues to be a big supporter of the event. He regularly socializes at the events.

In 2009, FOWR decided to cancel the Paint Out portion of their Riverfest event. Fortunately, William Weinaug Jr. stepped in and agreed to sponsor and host the Paint Out at Wekiva Island that year! Like Big Bill Tippit, Bill Weinaug believed the event would be important to increase awareness of the Wekiva River and Wekiwa Springs State Park’s preservation. Seven years later, he continues to host the event annually and support Florida wildlife conservation year-round!

Come be a part of one of Florida’s most renowned art festivals and experience the great outdoors at Wekiva Island.


Spotlight: Weeki Wachee

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are sorry to inform our readers that the Weeki Wachee attraction is closed.

Weeki Wachee is one of Florida’s most unique and oldest attractions.  For over 60 years, the family-oriented park has been famous for its beautiful mermaid show, but they offer much more.  The name “Weeki Wachee” actually comes from the Seminole Indians and means “little spring” or “winding river”.  The spring is so deep that the bottom has never been found!  And, the current is so strong in some areas that it can take a scuba mask right off!  It is actually quite a feat for the mermaids to do their show in such a current.  A theater was built info the limestone 6 feet below the surface of the spring so viewers could see the natural beauty of the spring, as well as the mermaid show.  Back in 1947, U.S. 19 was a small two-lane road, and all the other nearby roads were dirt.  The area was populated with more wildlife than humans, and cars were few.  The ladies actually went out to the road to beckon people into the park to see their show whenever they heard a car coming.  But by the 1950s, Weeki Wachee was one of the most popular tourist stops, visited by celebrities including Elvis Presley, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, and Arthur Godfry.

You can still see the mermaid shows as well as river boat cruises, animal shows, canoeing and kayaking, and the Buccaneer Bay water park (seasonal).  The river boat cruise will guide you along the pristine waters where you may see natural wildlife of the area.  The animal encounters showcase some of Florida’s native wildlife including alligators, snakes, turtles, and more.  You can also rent canoes or kayaks (or bring your own), or go diving in the springs (must register through a dive shop, no individual diving permitted).   Weeki Wachee also offers camps, group reservations, corporate picnics, and weddings.

Buccaneer Bay Water Park is also a great way to cool off with thrilling flume rides including the Pirates Plunge, The Cannonball, The Thunderbolt, and more!    (Seasonal, check website for dates.)

This ‘old Florida’ attraction is approximately 80 miles from the Orlando area.

For more information about Weeki Wachee, visit their website, or type in ‘Weeki Wachee’ in our search (top right) to read more articles about this attraction. Feel free to leave a response below about your visit to Weeki Wachee and share your tips and experience!