Linda Piper has seen the Downtown Festival & Art Show grow by leaps and bounds in her 22 years as events coordinator. This year’s 34th annual festival will be her last before retirement.
In her spacious second-floor office at the Historic Thomas Center, Linda Piper is surrounded by proud mementos of her two babies. We’re not referring to Piper’s natural children, although photos of her beloved daughters, Nicole and Rachel, adorn her desk.
No, in this case, Piper’s “babies” are the two Gainesville events—the Downtown Festival & Art Show and the Hoggetown Medieval Faire— she has nurtured for more than two decades as events coordinator for the City of Gainesville’s Cultural Affairs Division.
Those two events alone annually draw upward of 150,000 people to Gainesville and have helped put the city on the map as a cultural destination.