In years past, exhibitors at the Apollo Beach Manatee Festival of the Arts had to clear away the cow patties before they set up in a pasture.
Now the festival has a new home: The South Shore Community Events Center, unveiled last week by Tampa Electric Co.
The center is near TECO's Manatee Viewing Center at the end of Big Bend Road in Apollo Beach.
The new facility, built by TECO at a cost of more than $200,000, includes two pavilions and a covered stage on 12 acres of property.
TECO spokesman Rick Morera said the facility is open for community events. The local chamber of commerce and corporate groups have already expressed interest in using it.
"We wanted to give something back to the community," said Bob Howell, director of technology integration for the power company.
Howell said the site's environmentally friendly features include special materials for the parking lot and recycled products that were used for the stage and picnic tables.
Several contractors donated their time and supplies to the project, Howell said.
The Manatee Festival of the Arts runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. To get there, go west on Big Bend Road until it ends, then turn left on Dickman Road.
Groups interested in using the South Shore Community Events Center should call 275-3108 for more information.
Jan Wesner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 661-2439.