Claudia Polzin gives Full time residents a full slate of activities for our season!

Claudia Polzin
Consultant to Nonprofits

During the Season – there are many days there are so many things to choose from that you can’t decide what to attend. But it seems that when season ends – we find there is very little to do in the way of cultural activities. But five years ago the new StayInMay Festival came to town and has successfully produced festivals that have attracted over 60,000 people to attend a variety of world-class events.

This year the StayInMay Festival began on April 25 and continues through May 12. There are many first time events to enjoy this year – from culinary to visual arts to an exciting event at the Naples Zoo. A constant as a part of the festival are the performances at 2 p.m. at the Naples Art Association. This year these performances are varied and offer something for a variety of musical preferences. May 2 – Lara St John and Matt Herskowitz partner to present an exciting violin and piano concert; May 3 – classical pianist Ilya Itin.

A unique opportunity awaits you on May 9 when Arturo Sandoval will perform a rare jazz piano concert. The series will conclude on May 11 with classical pianist Kevin Kenner. If you love jazz, bluegrass with a tinge of classical – you won’t want to miss the first time in Southwest Florida for the DePue Brothers. In partnership with the Hilton Naples, this group will perform in the main ballroom. You can enjoy a reception provided by the Hilton prior to the concert and relax and enjoy the best that bluegrass has to offer.

This award-winning group is comprised of eight musicians, several classically trained, and one named one of the top fiddlers in the country.
The featured art exhibit at the Naples Art Association will be from Shanghai to Naples – from renowned Chinese artist Deena Gu. Much of her work was on display at the Philadelphia Art Museum. One of the works is a copy of a scroll from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.). Some very new exciting culinary experiences are a part of the Festival – on May 2 – the five culinary programs from the area high schools will be featured. Brian Roland, a renowned local chef will be the host for this event at his new venue – Venue Naples. The five different schools will all present a menu
that is inspired by a different genre of jazz. Enjoy the world of food from the perspective of these wonderfully talented students.

Do you love seeing a painter create a work in front you then you want to be at the Marco Island Historical Society on May 11. Malenda Trick – one of our treasured, talented local artists will be creating a work in the style of Toulouse- Lautrec while you hear the strains of cabaret music performed by Steffanie Pearce accompanied by Dr. James Cochran. The Festival will conclude on May 12 with a performance at the Naples Zoo – featuring The Tokens – who made famous The Lion Sleeps Tonight. See the lion exhibit at the Zoo and learn about this species that is now on the endangered list – and have the opportunity to get a painting done by lion’s paws.

As you can see from this small example – the StayInMay Festival aims to provide entertainment to appeal to a wide audience, in interesting venues across our region. So I invite you to explore the website – and find out what appeals to you and enjoy the extension of our season.

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