On the Radar: Clearwater's Fashion and Arts Week

The Clearwater Designer Co-Op, a group of volunteers dedicated to stimulating the economy of the city’s downtown, are putting on Fashion and Arts Week Thurs., Feb. 3, through Sun., Feb. 6. The group aims to spawn the cultural rebirth of an under-appreciated — but lately up-and-coming — downtown district.

On Thursday, the Fashion and Arts Week opening night party — a multimedia, multisensory fashion experience – begins at 7 p.m. at System Productions, 34 N. Garden Ave. The event is free and includes food by Greektown Grille.

Return on Friday for the event’s Film, Fashion and Food Night, which offers fashion-y fun at downtown boutiques starting at 5 p.m. and an evening of short films hosted by the Sunscreen Film Festival — a bona fide cine fest that’s brought big-name celebs to town — at 7 p.m. Admission is $8, benefiting the sixth annual festival taking place this year in April. Following the screening, attendees can hobnob at a free meet-and-greet with actors, directors and producers at Tony's Pizzeria and Ristorante, 428 Cleveland St., Clearwater, 727-441-2226.

Street fests take over with a plethora of sights and sounds Sat.-Sun. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sat., the Performing Arts Festival kicks things up with dance performances in Station Square Park, street musicians and performers. In addition, at 7 p.m., the Guilfoil Ballet Theater performs the Capitol Theater ($30).

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sun., the Visual Arts Festival includes an open-air art show in Station Square Park, vendors and live entertainment.

Other fashion and arts mini-events — such as trunk shows, sales and restaurant specials — will be happening concurrently with the festivities.

A thousand people attended last year’s inaugural event, we’re told — fashionistas from Miami and Orlando trekked out to take advantage of the deeply discounted prices on Rebecca Minkoff handbags, Whitley Kros dresses and Craig Taylor blouses (pictured above; photo by Brad Kugler) — and there’s more in store this year. Lokey Motor Company is the presenting sponsor. For more info, visit fashionandartsweek.posterous.com.

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