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Here are some things you can do this weekend during Thanksgiving in Naples.

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Things to do Thanksgiving weekend in Naples: Quick Draw, Stickwork

The loaded Thanksgiving dinner table is only the start of the November holidays that sweep over Southwest Florida. There are two important reasons this weekend is so significant:

1.   It is — drum roll here — the official end of hurricane season.

2. It opens tourism season, celebrating it with a raft of events so fascinating, we’ll walk off the pumpkin pie seeing everything and forget everything about the dinner. Except the stuffing, of course. 

Here are four sights for your visiting family or perhaps just your holiday-at-home self, that we’ll bet you’ve never seen before: 

1. STICKWORK sculpture

Patrick Dougherty enjoyed rambling through North Carolina’s woods where he was raised. He still rambles through the woods — and on top of them and around them. 

STICKWORK was the company formed to create his commissioned sculptures. They use willow saplings as weavers and builders, such as this one at Naples Botanical Garden for the last three weeks. Attentive to his environment, Dougherty’s open-roof 70-by-15-foot creation suggests the waves that lap up from the Gulf of Mexico barely a mile away.

Artist Patrick Dougherty walks around the STICKWORK piece on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021 at the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Fla.

Dougherty’s crew visits every part of the site to understand the local area and people who might be using it. He stated that keeping the sky open to the top lets you “see that blue sky.” Large enough for wheelchairs are not uncommon in fat entrances. “And feel these breezes — they can come right through,” he said. 

The “Sea Change”, while whimsical, has thoughtful underpinnings. A cute little triangle-shaped doorway that is likely intended for children. Large windows that show the skyvine blooming next to it. 

Dougherty said that his stickworks have been used to perform and choreograph dances and for weddings. He also says that they are a source of inspiration and creativity.

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The work, which was finished Friday, Nov. 19,  will be in the garden for two years, and will get a special glow for Johnsonville Lights in the Garden. The garden has a companion exhibition called “The Art of STICKWORK” which is located in Kapnick Hall from Nov. 19 to Jan. 9. It offers photos of his other fantastical sapling sculpture, along with narratives on Dougherty’s process, preferred materials and philosophy about his natural materials. 

Where: Naples Botanical Garden, 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, with early opening 8-9 a.m. for members only

Admission: $25 for ages 4-17. $10

To purchase:naplesgarden.org or 239-643-7275

Other: You can bring Rover with you from 9-11 am on Sundays or Tuesdays. If this is Rover’s first time, please fill out the informational form

Night lights? Johnsonville Night Lights in the Garden, featuring the gardens decked out in holiday lights and with entertainment everywhere, is at Naples Botanical Garden Nov. 26 – Dec. 23, Dec. 26 – Dec. 30, 2021, and Jan. 1 – 2. The 12th annual Night Lights at the Garden takes place from 6-9 pm through Dec. 16. Entertainment, food available. Through Dec. 16, $30, $14 ages 4 – 17 ($15, $7 members); beginning Dec. 17, $36, $16 ($18, $8 members). 

2. Quick Draw Naples

Ready, set, flow!

When creativity surges, the paint follows. One of the more exciting morning opportunities for Saturday will be to prowl through Quick Draw Naples, where more than 50 artists — rising-star, seasoned, realist, abstract, colorist, subdued — converge on Cambier Park to create works for an auction to benefit Legal Aid Services of Collier County.

Come early and watch the beginnings of a morning masterpiece at 9 a.m., then wander off for breakfast and shopping and return just in time for the 12:30 p.m. auction. Stop by one of many dining options within two blocks of Cambier park for lunch. Then, come back in time to bid on the completed projects.

Take your coffee with you and sit back for the concert. Bands devoting their talent to help Legal Aid include Roots Almighty, Moonstone Riders and The RaDar Kats, featuring flautist Kat Eppel, Ray Nesbit and Darrell Nutt.

Wristbands are given to attendees that allow them access to the event. You can also walk four blocks to the Uptown Art Fair (see below).

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Sixty percent of the proceeds benefit Legal Aid Service of Collier County and its critical work assisting children who are abused, neglected, abandoned or otherwise at risk. For the effort and material they contribute to this annual event, forty percent is donated to Legal Aid Service of Collier County.

Laura Barnard is the founder of this event. She starts by naming artists that excite her. Cory Patterson, a brand newcomer to the event who’s constructing wood with collage and intends neon through it, is what she finds most intriguing.

She said, “I cannot wait to see it.” 

Muffy Clark Gill at the Quick Draw at the 2019 Quick Draw at Naples Beach Hotel.

A good number of these names may sound familiar: stars like Cesar Aguilera ,Paul Arsenault, Paula Brody, Juan Diaz, Phil Fisher, Popo Flanigan, Muffy Clark Gill, Natalie Guess, Anna Rac, Sir Roland Richardson and Marcus Zotter.

But count on seeing new luminaries like Jill Gordon, Manon Sander, Brian Weaver of Artsemble Underground and work from the independent tattoo artist known as Mully.

Where: Cambier Park, 755 Eighth Ave. S., Naples

When:9 am – noon; the art auction begins at 12:30 pm Saturday, November 27

Admission: Suggested donation $5

Information: artaidnaples.com or collierlegalaid.org

Other:Are you unable to make it? Legal Aid of Collier County can be made a donation at any of the websites.

3. Hunt Slonem Zoo

It may not be the most usual time for bunnies. They are bunnies! A hoard of hares pose by the dozen in Hunt Slonem’s animal-centric paintings. They’re just as appealing in November and April as they are in May.

Paintings starring the rabbits, gimlet-eyed parrots, peacocks and more are in “Hunt Slonem’s Zoo,” a new show at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (GCMON). It’s supplied by the Harmon-Meek Gallery, where Slonem quirky, colorful works have been a staple for years. Kristine Meek was a board member and worked on this exhibition. It is a rare opportunity for Slonem. Although his works were in numerous exhibitions across the globe, except Antarctica and never in children’s museums, they have all been on display. 

One of the

You need to be aware that adults must accompany children to the museum. A parent must accompany a child.

“The exhibitions in our museum are an experience that has been curated for families to do together,” explained Beth Housewert, senior director of play and learning for GCMON.  The narrative labels for each piece in Hunt Slonem’s Zoo, for instance, have guiding question for parents. Do you know how many rabbits are there? How are they related?

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Several of the pieces also have hands-on learning stations nearby, such as Slonem’s “Georgia Peach,” a veritable troop of rabbits at attention on a peach field. To create their own marching orders or mimic the painting, children can use the cutouts of wooden rabbits that are nearby. Each day, the blocks are cleaned and sanitized. Every day, the entire museum is treated with an electrostatic cleaning fog.

Many exhibitions feature similar interactive elements. There’s also a pop-up demonstration at 11 a.m. and story times at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. The title this week sounds particularly relevant: “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey.”  

Where: Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, 15080 Livingston Road, Naples

When:Through February 19, All days, except Wednesdays (which are open to members only), 10 a.m.-5 pm.

Admission:For ages 1-17: $12; for adults, $10

Information: cmon.org or 239-514-0084

4. Uptown Art Festival

The young Design District, with its decor and home construction and accessories trades, links arms with the United Arts Council and Howard Alan events for its second post-Thanksgiving Uptown Art Festival.

The festival’s second year has seen it go high-tech. It now displays its artists map on a website that anyone can access from their phone. 

You don’t have to be worried. There will be some artists on entry points at the United Arts Council for people who have technical difficulties. There are a lot of artists to look for, too — 155, according to Laura Burns, executive director of the UAC. According to Burns, after one year of pandemics, people are interested in going out on the streets again.

She said, “We are just thankful we can have the festival and artists are happy that it is on a holiday weekend.”

Uptown’s artists are a mix of 30 local ones as well as talent from all over the U.S., offering two-dimensional art and sculpture, jewelry and accessories for home and work. There are some food vendors, but Burns emphasized that dining spots in and adjacent to the festival are also meant to be part of the mix: longtime restaurants like Bill’s Cafe, and newcomers like Narrative Coffee Roasters, Dough with a Hole and Yacht Club Subs. Arturo Carerra (long-time Naples artist) and his wife owned the Design District’s businesses including Muzyka.

Harper Goodin's text embellished art is among that at the Uptown Arts Festival this year.

A portion of proceeds will go to UAC’s programs. This includes its education programs for kids, affordable workshops, and low-cost, free events in the community. Burns stated that she is happy the event takes place on the same weekend at Cambier Park as the Quick Draw event for another cause so that people can walk between them.

“It’s perfect,” said she. 

When: Saturday, November 27-28 at 10 p.m.

Where:10th Street South, from Central Avenue to Fifth Avenue South

Admission:All Rights Reserved

Information:Artfestival.com, or call 239-254-82242

Other: Can’t come? You can still  make a donation to the United Arts Council of Collier County at uaccollier.com

Harriet Howard Heithaus writes about arts and entertainment at the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Call her at 239-213-6091.

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