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Saturday, April 13, 2024

As the summer comes to a close, a pop-up beach will appear this weekend at Heartwood Soundstage.


Located on the 600 block of Southeast First Street, the pop-up will feature local Gainesville vendors and culture Friday through Sunday.


There will be human foosball -- a lifesize version of the tabletop game -- provided by weFooz Human Foosball, a company that brings the game to events. There are seven people on a team. Players must keep both of their hands on the bars at all times while they try to make goals against the opposing team.


Mermaid Sara, a live professional mermaid from North Central Florida, will be there. The Gainesville Circus Center, a performance art company which provides classes in aerial dance, acro-balance, equestrian vaulting, fire spinning and more, is performing between 3:30-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.


“We want to bring the beach to Gainesville,” said Alexis Benton, the event’s director. “So that families, students and community members can come and they can enjoy the sand and some beach music and just hang out and really come together as a community.”


When Benton graduated from the UF in May with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, she took a program director position at the Florida Community Design Center. She said she heard about the center in a studio class and liked what it stood for.


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The Florida Community Design Center is promoting the Endless Summer Festival as phase one of Artline.


The idea was conceived to support the construction of a new corridor between Depot Park and downtown that was proposed by the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency and the University, called Artline, said Randy Wells, executive director of Florida Community Design Center.


The FCDC is a community-based non-profit that promotes sustainable design in the natural and built environment through research and community collaboration. It provides planning and design services including conceptual design, outreach and grant attainment and management.


Benton said there are a lot of people in Gainesville unaware of all of the city has to offer, especially students. For many students, it takes a couple of years to really discover the gems of downtown Gainesville.


That’s why the Endless Summer Festival is at the beginning of the semester, so students can explore the diverse plethora of great talent, people, places and things offered by the city, at the beginning of their time here, rather than at the end of their four years, according to Benton.


So as the sun sets on summer 2018, all of Gainesville residents are invited to get sand between their toes, appreciate the art and culture and welcome the city’s new hot destination, Artline.


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