Arts and crafts festival is a hot-spot for local artists, vendors

Nefertari Dennard displayed her work at the Fuzzy Pineapple Festival this past weekend. Photo by Christina Compere

By Christina Compere

Outlook Writer

The heat didn’t matter to Kadija Christie on Saturday.  She was doing something that she is passionate about — selling her portrait art and performing her newest song on stage at the Fuzzy Pineapple Arts and Crafts Festival.

“The sun showed up and did not leave but that’s okay,” Christie said with a wide smile. “The people showed love and came by the tent after I performed to buy my CD or converse on the story behind my art pieces. It’s funny because people will say ‘man, you do everything.’ I just like to create.”

Christie was one of several artists who displayed their work at the Fuzzy Pineapple Festival. She might not be well known locally, but her work has been a hit with celebrities around the country.

Known locally as “Ausetiri,” Christie has been recognized on social media by the likes of big-name singers such as Erykah Badu, Issa Rae and Lauryn Hill for portraits she’s made of them.

“Erykah Badu commented, ‘dope,’ under my post of her portrait and I almost died,” Christie said. “Issa Rae liked the post and I hand-delivered Lauryn Hill’s portrait at her concert.”

Saturday’s event was the fourth time Nefetari Dennard, founder and CEO of The Fuzzy Pineapple brand, presented the festival. It attracted artists and vendors to sell their unique, hand-crafted pieces.

Many of the artists were showing their work publically for the first time.

“Our target is newbie artists and students to introduce them to the festival world,” said Dennard. “For a lot of people here it is their first time vending their pieces, merchandising or setting up a tent because they were just thinking maybe somebody will buy it.

“Once they get here they see that it’s a market and audience that supports new artists or artists in general.”

Dennard, a graphic designer, said she created the event to give other artists a platform to showcase their hand-made work in a festival setting.

“I’m also a vendor so this is definitely a vendor-friendly event,” she said. “I wanted to bring this type of festival to Tallahassee because I was inspired by trying to get into the Renegade Craft Fair.

“It’s expensive, hard work to try the concept in Tallahassee. It took volunteers, photographers and supporters to contribute. I really want this for college students. Especially for the student artists who need the experience of showcasing work.”

Sunni Speaks traveled from Atlanta to give a demonstration on vegan cooking.

“It was a great experience,” said Speaks, who also performed on stage. “Everyone was really friendly. I sold a lot of my vegan cookbooks called ‘21 Fresh’ and gave consultations.”

Jeremy Sha, another sponsor of the event, took time to work the sound board for those who performed live.

“It’s a great vibe out here,” he said. “It’s always exciting to be out here every year and being able to help the artists perform.”