Grovites don their zaniest for 13th Annual Mad Hatter Arts Festival at The Barnacle

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The Mad Hatter Arts Festival celebrated its 13th year in Coconut Grove with a return to The Barnacle Historic State Park and along the sidewalks of Main Highway, Nov. 18 and 19.

This juried event featured artists with works in all types of media with an added feature this year. In addition to fine art, there was an Artisan and Vintage Marketplace. For the young and not so young, it truly was a great way to celebrate the “old Grove spirit” with the entire family.

The Grove has a deep Bohemian history of quirky artists and musicians. In fact, the title for the annual festival originated from a popular 70’s song written by John Sebastian of the internationally famous group, the Lovin Spoonful.

Also in keeping with the event’s namesake, many people came out in their zaniest, funkiest hats – from fedoras to sombreros to trucker caps — an ode to characters in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”

Families also enjoyed a special under-the-stars screening of the classic, Alice in Wonderland on the grounds of The Barnacle, Saturday evening.

At any given moment, park goers would catch a glance of charming little girls dressed as Alice or the Queen, while adults dressed up as a hookah-smoking caterpillars or donned “mad hats” made with fabrics and glue — just toget a chance at winning the event’s much-anticipated annual hat contest.

As always, music was a highlight of the Mad Hatter Festival, plus there was a participatory drum circle as well as activities for kids of all ages, including a special “Tea Party” hosted by the Barnacle Society with fruity sips and sweets. Adult food was also available – as was ice cold beer – at multiple concession stands on the Barnacle grounds and up along the street.

“We know the Mad Hatter Arts Festival has many friends who look forward to this event each year as the highlight of the autumn season,” says Katrina Boler, manager of the State Park at The Barnacle.

“That’s why we’re so thrilled that Mother Nature coordinated well with Alice, by providing the most perfect weather imaginable for our Wonderland event.”

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 on display and available for purchase. For many, it was a great way to start their holiday shopping.

The Barnacle was built in 1891 and offers a glimpse of frontier life during The Era of the Bay, when all travel to and from Miami was by boat. Situated on the shore of Biscayne Bay, this was the home of the Ralph Middleton Munroe, one of Coconut Grove’s most charming and influential pioneers.

Throughout the year, The Barnacle Society sponsors numerous events, including moonlight concerts and outdoor films, in an effort to raise funds to support this lovely Historic State Park. To become a volunteer, a member, or just for general information Visit for information or call the Park Ranger station at 305-442-6866.

The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Hwy, Miami, FL 33133. 

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About the Author

Bill Kress
Bill Kress, President of Kress Communications, is an editorial consultant with the Community Newspapers, covering business news, non-profits, and municipal government. He is an award-winning public relations practitioner, news reporter, photographer, and a prolific social mediologist. Reach Bill at or call 305-763-2429.

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