Central Avenue Solstice


Carrie of Nomad Art Bus

St. Pete’s Central Avenue Solstice celebrates the rising and setting of the sun along Central Avenue. (Nevermind that this astrological coincidence actually occurs on the equinox.) It consists of stores opening early, music playing along the avenue, painting the Nomad Art Bus, and more. 

It’s events like this that make me grateful to live in St. Pete.

I started the festivities with breakfast at Central Coffee Shop (French toast!) before meeting up with the Nomad Art Bus for my volunteering shift. After breakfast I had some time to kill, so I explored some of the shops that opened for the event. There are some really cool antique-y shops along Central that are fun to check out. 

Ladies bus

Ladies painting the bus

After exploring I meandered back to where the bus was supposed to be. I helped mix paints and get set up. I taped off the license plates and lights, so that people wouldn’t paint those along with the rest of the bus. Some of the people passing by would stop to leave their artistic contribution to the bus. Some people passed by with the comment, “I can’t draw.” I tried to entice them further, saying everyone can draw something! Polka dots, wiggly lines, shapes, etc… I convinced a few, but most of those folks kept on walking. 

It was fun watching the kids paint, but I think it was more fun watching the adults. Some of them started out a little shy and intimidated, and then they painted something creative that added to the awesomeness of the bus.

“Art for everyone” is Nomad Studio’s motto, and so it is. We all have creative parts of us that need to be expressed, regardless of the story we’ve been told about ourselves through our lives.


Me bus

Yay, bus painting!!

After my shift, the bus moved down to its next location near Central and MLK. I walked down and met it to deliver the tarps that were underneath it to catch all of the splattered paint. I met with the volunteer coordinator to talk about some additional duties I’m taking on for the organization, and I sampled King’s Street Food for lunch. The Jose Conseco modified Cuban sandwich is quite delicious, and their macaroni salad, while a bit salty, was really interesting and tasty.

Later, I decided to bike down to Sunset Park to see Grant Peeples play before the Movies in the Park event. This was a 7-ish mile bike ride, which is a bit far for me. The Pinellas Trail was a nice ride though. I like that trail: no cars except at crossings, quiet, a lot of graffiti and/or murals on the back of some of the industrial buildings.

GP Sunset

Grant Peeples playing at Sunset Park

I arrived at Sunset Park while Grant was reciting one of his poems. I like his style. Much of it is dark. It exposes, or reflects (?), the truth of the problems of our society. It’s poetry, or lyricism if it is a song, that makes you think. He played until it was movie time. Since it was a park setting, some folks were listening. Some weren’t. I’d much rather hear him, and other musicians, play in a more intimate setting. But I’m glad I biked out there. I needed the exercise, and I needed to get out of the house. 

At the end of the gig I stopped by to say hello. We had a nice conversation a few weeks prior at the opening of his art show at Craftman House Gallery, and now we are on hugging terms. Which is weird to me, because I’m not much of a hugger (I’m better on that than I used to be), but it also feels cool to be on hugging terms with a musician/artist that you admire.

I explored the park a bit, and then headed back home. Google took me a weird way, that felt a little hair-raising for awhile. It told me to turn left on a certain rode, so I got in the left lane. I really just needed to follow the road, so I had to get back over. In the dark. On a relatively fast road. I really just wanted to take the Pinellas Trail again, but I wasn’t familiar enough with the area to get myself back on it so I followed Google’s whim. Finally it told me to turn onto 5th Ave N, which didn’t have so many cars on it and was a little slower. I took that back to downtown.

Fantastic lightning to the northeast lit my way back. Close to home, a really big shooting star fell. I don’t know what burned up in the night sky, but it was big.

Back at home I cooled off, ate some delicious food, and watched the rest of Crocodile Dundee II (still a good movie). I headed to bed early and slept like a log (a rare thing for me).

Today, I’m not too sore after my 14 miles of cycling yesterday. My back is more sore than anything. I walked down to enjoy coffee and a pain au chocolat while writing in my journal and reading a book at Kahwa Coffee. Stopped at Publix for bread and cheese, walked down by the Bay, and headed home. 

I love, love, love that all of these things are within walking or biking distance of my apartment. I’m really glad I chose to live where I do. And I’m grateful that I am able to make that choice.

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