POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Art fests headed to Sarasota, Bradenton, Anna Maria Island

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Asphalt Orchestra

The Asphalt Orchestra will open the Ringling International Arts Festival in October in Sarasota. (Stephanie Berger / September 10, 2011)

Floridians don't get the luxury of falling leaves and naked trees during autumn, but those living in the Sarasota area can take advantage of the fall festival season.

The fall festival season is one of the most anticipated times of the year, and the Sarasota-Bradenton area has a trio of events aimed at the musical and artistic set.

Presented by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Ringling International Arts Festival 2012 celebrates its fourth year with a lineup of contemporary dance, musical and theatrical works by headlining acts that hail from diverse destinations that include Europe and South America.

Happening each year in October at the Ringling Center for the Arts in Sarasota, the festival features more than 45 performances, including an opening night concert by New York City's Asphalt Orchestra, a 12-piece marching ensemble that tackles a repertoire ranging from pop-star Björk, jazz legend Charles Mingus and rock icon Frank Zappa to Swedish metal band Meshuggah.

Other festival highlights include "Fräulein Maria," a dance production based on "The Sound of Music," and a concert by Meklit Hadero, an Ethiopian-born singer who has been compared with Norah Jones. For information and tickets, visit ringlingartsfestival.org.

In November, Anna Maria Island's annual ArtsHOP cultural weekend features a Gallery Walk, traditional small maritime craft show, and classical music by the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra. For details, visit islandartshop.com.

If you want to prolong the festival activites, get in one last hoorah before the new year starts at the Brandenton Blues Festival, held each year in December. The annual festival is held each year in downtown Bradenton and features blues vocalists, guitarists and more. The full festival lineup and other details are available at www.bradentonbluesfestival.org.

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