The Mexico Beach Art and Wine Festival is an annual pay-it-forward affair.

The Mexico Beach Art and Wine Festival is an annual pay-it-forward affair.

Hosted and presented each year by the city’s Special Events Committee, the Art and Wine Festival serves as one of the primary, if not the primary, funding spark for the city’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

And over the years, as the committee has tweaked the event, the festival has become a standard-bearer for, what should we call it, beach culture.

“We have artists lined up and raring to go,” said Kimberly Shoaf, executive director the city’s Community Development Corporation. “We always have a great turnout of artists.

“This is one of the more prominent events each year on our calendar. And, of course, all proceeds benefit the Fourth of July.”

The festival, now in its 18th year, will be 2-8 p.m. CT Saturday at the Driftwood Inn on U.S. Highway 98.

Entry the day of the event is $20; advance tickets are $15.

Each ticket includes a commemorative wine glass and a ticket for either a glass of wine or beer; there will also be heavy hors d’oeuvres.

A twist for this year offers ticket-holders the opportunity to use entry to forego the glass of wine or beer in favor of using the ticket for a wine tasting that will transpire throughout the event.

“There will be a wine-tasting from a winery in Tallahassee,” Shoaf said. “You can taste five different specialty wine and if you like one you can purchase a bottle.

“Beer and wine will be sold by the glass throughout the evening.”

In addition to more than 30 artists, who will set up and display their talents on the grounds of the Inn, there will be a mini-painting classes throughout the event.

The 30-minute sessions allow anybody to paint a picture on a mini-canvas.

There will also be live and silent auctions on a vast array of items.

In addition, there will be raffles on wooden salad bowl crafted by local artist Bobby Pollock (valued at $350) and a large 4-foot brace and stained-glass mermaid lamp (valued at $500).

Raffle tickets are $5 or 5 for $20.

Musicians Scott Grant and Sam Williams from Montgomery, AL will playing live throughout the day.

“This is an event that has restructured to bring a different kind of flair,” Shoaf said. “We expect good crowds.”

Advance tickets may be purchased at the Driftwood Inn or Mexico Beach Welcome Center.

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