For the past three years, Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, one of the village’s busiest roads, has been shut down for a weekend in early March, transformed into a large asphalt canvas for professional and amateur artists as part of the Royal Palm Art & Music Festival.
It’s that time again.
“You can watch the streets come alive,” said Jaene Miranda, CEO of the Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, referring to a tradition that dates back to the 16th century. “The festival helps bring attention to the village and shows how the village is a family friendly community.”
The Chamber organizes the event.
Miranda said more than 25,000 people are expected to attend the free, two-day festival, which starts Saturday at 11 a.m. and is open until 11 p.m. Sunday’s hours are from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Although carnival rides will open Friday at 5 p.m., the full festival doesn’t start until Saturday.
Close to 200 artists will be creating works during the festival, Miranda said. The event will also feature some local star power, namely, Michaela Paige and Laura Vivas, West Palm Beach residents who competed on “The Voice,” NBC’s hit talent competition show. Vivas made it into the Top 20 while Paige cracked the Top 12.
The festival also will have tribute bands for the Allman Brothers, The Doors and Jimmy Buffet. Musicians will also play jazz, blues, classic rock and country.
Miranda said the village is spending about $6,000 more on entertainment this year.
“We’re bringing in some more high-caliber bands,” she said.
Other festival activities includes fire eaters, fire baton twirlers, a chicken-wing eating contest, kayak races on Lake Challenger, a beer garden, street performers, a business expo and two eight-minute fireworks shows Saturday night.
Miranda said the biggest challenge of staging the event is raising money. This year, it will cost about $140,000 to produce the festival, with the money coming from sponsors, vendors and the village, Miranda said.
Another challenge is minimizing traffic woes when Royal Palm Beach Boulevard is shut down between Southern Boulevard and Camellia Park Drive. Miranda said the Chamber works with the Florida Department of Transportation for six weeks to make sure there are enough signs and message boards to direct traffic.
“On the east and west side of the event, there are two shopping malls and a hotel located on the property of the event,” Miranda said. “We need to make sure those businesses can still operate.”
For information on the festival, visit www.royalpalmbeachfestival.com or call (561) 790-6200.