On Saturday, April 8, 2017, The Noise Box hosted the Tampa Bay Coffee and Art Festival. A morning session was held at 11 am and another in the evening at 6 pm. The event featured 8 different coffee vendors, more than 20 artists, and about 7 different food trucks.
The Noise Box is a church in Brandon, FL and is no stranger to hosting community events. They have historically worked with local musicians, both Christian and Secular, to help support them.
The Coffee and Art festival was first hosted in April 2016. The goal was to educate the community about artisan coffee, to help support local artists by giving them a way to advertise and sell their work, and to raise money to support the Bay Area Foundation for the Arts, which, according to their website, “helps supports students and teachers who are serious about their art.”
Because The Noise Box didn’t expect that a ton of people would register for the event, they had to turn many people away and instead hosted a second Coffee and Art Festival in the fall of 2016 in order to accommodate everyone who was turned away from the first event.
The Noise Box promised that this year’s event would be bigger and better. They followed through with this by inviting more local artisan coffee vendors, more artists, and worked on advertising the event well ahead of time. The fruits of their efforts resulted in attendance of several hundred people between both sessions.
Tickets were sold before the event and at the door for a slightly increased price. Three tiers of tickets were sold. The first tier, dubbed “The Light Roast”, was a basic general admission ticket. The second tier, dubbed “The Medium Roast, included a T-Shirt, a coffee mug, a pen, and a cloth sack to hold everything in. The third tier, dubbed “The Dark Roast”, included everything the Medium Roast package had, plus a “Coffee Connection Pass,” which let the holder attend one of three events that showcased how to prepare coffee in the same way that professional baristas do.
The event took up both buildings and most of the main grounds of the church. The food trucks were parked outside and in the main parking lot, available before the doors opened to the main event, and charged regular prices for their food or coffee.
Once the doors opened, patrons had the ability to sample certain products from these food trucks, as well as have a chance to walk through and view artwork and crafts from different artists, craftspeople, and jewelers. Some different items for sale included coffee scented candles, walking sticks, and painted tiles.
The venue had designed the event to give off a very rustic atmosphere. Exposed wooden frames separated vendors and lights were strung across the frames, lighting up the area. Standing tables were set out for people to take a break at, and were set with centerpieces that matched the atmosphere, such as an antique cigar box.
“The event was great,” states Christina Moyer, a Junior at Saint Leo studying Religion and Education. “It was full of very diverse people from all walks of life.”
During the event, various local musicians took the stage to further set the mood of the event. While the music was overwhelmingly loud at times, there was always a place to go in the other building or outside to get away from it.
Many different types of coffee were available to be sampled from the different artisan vendors. Aside from the traditional Colombian coffee, samples of coffee from other countries, such as Honduras, Peru, and even Sumatra were available for tasting. There was even a vendor who handed out samples of coffee made from hemp seed extract, which they claimed increased memory, focus, and help with weight loss.
Overall, the event was a success. It brought in hundreds of patrons, raked in a lot of money for a good cause, and helped many local artists, artisans, and musicians get their name out there.
The Tampa Bay Coffee and Art Festival will return next spring, promising to be an even bigger and better experience.