Clearwater Pier 60
Located on the Clearwater Beach, Pier 60 is a well-equipped and attractive fishing pier in Florida, providing a range of activities like fishing, strolling, dining, and shopping besides a range of entertainments. "Sunsets at Pier 60" is a spectacular event heralded at the beach starting 2 hours before sunset. During this event, the beach gets vibrant with varying activities that may include musicians, artists, vendors, magicians and jugglers. The various facilities available including a children's playground, covered pavilions, restrooms, snack shop, rod rentals, bait and tackle and is a great place for strolling and fishing.
A daily festival that first came to being in 1995, Sunsets at Pier 60 refers to more than just a pretty view of the spectacular colors of dusk over Clearwater Beach. It is an actual celebration of the arts and music that has become increasingly popular over the last dozen or so years.
The festival began as a series of individual events that took place on Thursday evenings through Monday evenings approximately two hours before and two hours after sunset. The five-night-a-week schedule lasted until mid-1998 at which time they expanded to a seven-nights-a-week, 365-days-a-year festival that rarely takes a break, except during extremely inclement weather.
In partnership with the city of Clearwater, the non-profit Sunsets at Pier 60 Society has turned these nightly events into opportunities for all ages to come together and enjoy street musicians, crafters, arts displays, and so much more while enjoying the breathtaking colors of sundown over pristine Clearwater Beach.
Every day is a little different, but all events have several goals in mind. It is the mission of the organizing body to "promote Clearwater Beach and Pinellas County as a prime tourist destination, support the beach tourism market by encouraging longer stays and more frequent visits to the area, provide free quality family friendly entertainment on Clearwater Beach, encourage the use of public land for artistic and cultural purposes which benefit the community as a whole, promote government and public awareness and appreciation of the importance of artistic and cultural activities to Pinellas County, support the local artisans and crafters community by providing them a full-time venture to display their unique form of expression, and increase the knowledge, the beauty, and the style of artwork indicative to Florida."
This is done basically by inviting local and regional artists of all genres to perform and display their work. They might include vocalists, instrumentalists, magicians, jugglers, dancers, stilt walkers, balloon artists, fire breathers, and living statues, just to name a few.
Large crowds gather around these unique performers, providing them with a good outlet for their skills. There is no charge for watching any of the performances but those enjoying the show are permitted to give tips to the artists if they are so inclined.
Crafters are abundant and usually lined up side by side with a steady crowd of onlookers browsing or buying. Not just anyone can set up a table. The festival organizers take time to review samples of the crafters' work before allowing them to set up a display. Categories accepted for display are jewelry, paintings, photography, handcrafted pottery and wood, and many others. The event attracts so many crafters that there is often a waiting list for those wishing to display their wares.
Often, music and crafts displays are geared to the particular time of year. For example, many crafters who display in December might sell holiday-oriented merchandise, and musicians entertain the crowds with Christmas music.
While the Sunsets festival is the big attraction each evening, visitors to the area can also enjoy all the other things the area has to offer, including food concessions, restaurants and bars, and additional shopping opportunities. The large Pier 60 playground is popular with the young crowd and others rent or bring along poles and bait and partake in a bit of fishing at the end of the pier.
The time of the festival changes according to the season of the year and, of course, what time the sun sets. Check local listings for the exact time of the festivities.