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Monthly event attracts visitors

The Village of the Arts is one of Bradenton’s funkiest — and most charming — neighborhoods.

The first weekend of every month, they hold a block party and invite the community.

The area, anchored on 12th Street West, just off Eighth Avenue, is filled with art galleries and studios, restaurants and shops.

Dianne and Allan Lawrence were first-timers who stopped by Bonni Bakes for some of owner Bonni Brown’s famous pizza. Recent high-school grad Carly Ayres brought her friend, Chris Goldstein, for pizza and a Village visit before they leave for college. Carly will be attending the Rhode Island School of Design and Chris is headed to Harvard.

Hector and Bonnie Ferran watched the passing people from a bench in the garden of their home/garden shop/video game emporium, the Blue Marschmello. The unusual name and merchandise mix combines the couple’s middle names and their his-and-hers interests.

Rawk Shop owners Valeri Rose and Melissa DuCasse helped beat the July heat with a pool party in their side yard. Friends and neighbors splashed in the inflatable pool and spilled over into the garden for an impromptu party.

Jim and Coleen Henry were among the visitors who were enjoying the fun atmosphere. Arts patrons Jackie and Jake Jacoby and Sandy French stopped by Anna D’Aste’s Little Swamp Studio.

Mark your calendars for July 18. Many galleries will participate in a special “Christmas in July” event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop by for one-of-a-kind gifts and support your local artists.

Susan Wilcox, a Florida native, has lived in Bradenton for more than 20 years.