Saturday, September 22, 2018
Events

Lutz Arts Fest bounces back after one-year hiatus

ODESSA — A long-standing arts festival with more than 350 exhibitors returns this weekend at a new location after a year of forced hiatus.

The 37th Lutz Arts & Crafts Show will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 3) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 4) at Keystone Prep High School, 18105 Gunn Highway. Admission is free but there is a $5 parking charge to benefit the school.

The annual event was canceled in 2015 when a sinkhole opened — just two weeks before the show — at Lake Park on N Dale Mabry Highway, the festival's site for many years.

This year's show will include artists and craftsmen working in a variety of mediums, said Lois Cohen of the GFWC Lutz-Land O'Lakes Woman's Club, which sponsors the festival.

"You name it, we have it," Cohen said. "Silks, jewelry, handbags, country-style crafts."

In addition, there will be a variety of holiday-themed decor including wreaths, ornaments and centerpieces as well as original paintings and photographs.

Dan Dunn, owner of My Secret Garden, is one of the exhibitors and has been in the show for seven years.

The New Port Richey artist creates bird feeders from hand-painted gourds, butterfly feeders with sea sponges, bird feeders from candlesticks and salad plates as well as other yard art.

Dunn said he likes the show "because of the people and a great mix of artists. People are really in the holiday spirit."

The festival benefits the club's scholarship fund, and includes 14 vendors with foods and drinks including barbecue, Italian dishes, coffee and wine slushies, said Cohen, who is co-director of the event with Kay Taylor.

Last year, the club canceled the show after the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department closed the park just weeks before the annual event. It was too late for the women's group to find another location.

Although the park reopened, the club had to find a new location "because we were uncertain when it would reopen," and feared future sinkholes with more closures of the park, she said.

"We also were looking for a new location where we could get a long-term lease," Cohen said, adding that the contract with the school is for five years.

The event usually raises about $30,000 annual for the nonprofit, all-volunteer women's club and is the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year.

Contact Lenora Lake at [email protected]

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