Fall into Foo – Pensacola’s 2021 Foo Foo Festival Brings Arts, Culture & Entertainment
While the locals know you can experience Pensacola’s colorful arts scene year-round, our visitors continue to specifically flock to Pensacola each fall for an array of unique cultural, culinary, and crafty offerings in one big festival.
To kick off your November, experience more than 200 of the nation’s best artists – painters, potters, sculptors, jewelers, graphic artists, musicians, and more – during Pensacola’s annual three-day outdoor juried art show this November 5-7, 2021, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival.
But why simply stay one weekend when you can vacation artfully for two? Because no two weeks are as vibrant and vamped up as Foo Foo Fest – where days and nights blur into big fun, artistic excellence, and a hefty dose of Southern hospitality. Here's everything happening this year during the festival that you should take note of.
Opting for the outdoors? Enjoy two larger-than-life projections spanning over three historic structures Downtown. The first digital graffiti to hit Foo is Son et lumière, a building-wide projection boasting sound and light – a spectacular mashup of technology and history, where scenes, people, and imagery from 200 years ago will come to life in a dazzling interactive and undeniably modern experience. (If Disney World told a history lesson upon Cinderella’s Castle, you’d get a taste of Son et lumière.) November 4-7 at the Old Escambia Courthouse after dark.
Want more Fantasia-whimsical than historically accurate? The second weekend of digital graffiti is A Celebration of Art: An Immersive 3D Experience. Fusing virtual and live performances, the Pensacola Little Theatre will light up the blank canvases of both the Cultural Center and Museum of Art to immerse viewers into the heart of ballet, singing, writing, acting, and – not to toot our own horn – but live musicians tooting instruments right along with the art show. Seamlessly seesawing between buildings in a Disney-like multi-sensory display, this outdoor celebration of art is accompanied by live singers, dancers, painters, musicians, and the strongest cocktails in town – meaning both mom/dad and the littles can leave feeling good. (We mentioned the walkability back to your Downtown hotel, right?) November 11-14, every 30 minutes from 7-9:30 p.m.
Expanding from simply Downtown, take the road less travelled by and hunt down more than twenty public folk art installations on the Gulf Coast Quilt Trail, a folk-art scavenger hunt of outdoor, unique public art. Experience the city, the country, and the unbe’weave’able talent of the Pensacola Quilter’s Guild, November 4-15.
GET AN EARFUL OUTSIDE
Jive to Jazz for Justice, a full-day of live jazz music by diverse musicians throughout the Southeast. Beginning as a humble grassroots music event, Jazz for Justice features a mix of national recording artists and local musicians in Seville Quarter from 3-8 p.m. on November 14.
Or venture to the Hunter Amphitheater at Community Maritime Park to experience a water-side concert From Sea to Shining Sea: A Musical Salute to Service. This special Veteran’s Day concert on November 11 from 3:30-5 p.m. features the unparalleled talent of Pensacola’s Opera, Symphony Orchestra, Chorale Society, and Children’s Chorus in a collaboration to celebrate and honor the community’s veterans. Freedom may not be free, but this performance of some of our nation’s most beloved patriotic tunes certainly is.
BE YOU AT FOO
The Stamped LGBTQ Film Festival November 12-14 celebrates every color of the rainbow during Foo Foo Fest, and the festival highlights the artistic contributions both nationally and internationally of the LGBTQ+ film community. The vibrant three-day festival features films that range in content, rating from adults-night-out to films appropriate for the whole family, including a specific “Family Day” of children’s activities and films. Stamped provides a vibrant and educational experience to Pensacola, featuring multiple businesses and nonprofits in town throughout the festival to showcase what they have to offer the diverse community.
Curious for more than arts and crafts from Foo? Get your game on and nerd out with a Science of Strategy by Pensacola MESS Hall. From the OG’s of Math, Engineering, Science, and Stuff, join the MESS Hall’s Games Garden, Games Unplugged Curiosity Day, and Clue Murder Mystery at pop-up Downtown locations November 6, 11, 13, and 14. Face off against your friends at every age or puzzle it out together by discovering classic and modern games of chance, science, and skill.
FOO’D FOR THOUGHT
Remember – Foo Foo may feature a few diverse all-star arts offerings during your stay, but virtually every restaurant and bar becomes a two-week Friend of Foo to make sure your walkable Downtown experience is filled with culinary and craft-cocktail artforms as well. Whether it’s Bourbon, Bacon, Brews, & Cigars;Pensacola EggFest; or the Winter Brewfest – there is plenty to see, sip, and savor while you Foo.
So, no matter if you come for those white, pristine beaches, those breweries and bars, or some culture that’s good for your heART and soul, there’s no place better suited to vacation artfully and stay while than the colorful helm of culture of Pensacola.
Sid Williams-Heath has lived in Northwest Florida since 2016, after relocating from New York City while working for the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is the executive director of the Pensacola Little Theatre and Pensacola Cultural Center. Williams-Heath serves on a number of Boards and organizations, including the Stamped Film Festival, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Pensacola Independent Arts Council, American Association of Community Theatre, and Leadership Pensacola’s class of 2019.