Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Events

Temple Terrace Arts Festival blossoms from humble beginnings

TEMPLE TERRACE — James Chambers, the recently retired Temple Terrace leisure services director, remembers the humble beginnings of the small arts show.

It started in the early 1970s as a joint venture between the Temple Terrace Woman's Club, the Temple Terrace Junior Woman's Club and the now defunct Temple Terrace Kiwanis Club.

They staged the event at or near the Temple Terrace Community Church, adjacent to the city's golf and country club. In 1973 the event moved to Riverhills Park abutting the Hillsborough River and organizers dubbed it the Temple Terrace Arts & Crafts Festival.

"I remember when each club kicked in $100 to buy ribbons for the show's winners and when nobody had tents, only tables and a couple of chairs," Chambers said.

From that simple beginning, the festival has blossomed into the largest annual outdoor affair in the community and the longest running event of its kind in northeast Hillsborough County. The 43rd version of the festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 12) and Sunday (Nov. 13) at Woodmont Park, 415 Woodmont Ave.

Much has changed since then, he said, including the artists' high level of professionalism and the top-notch quality of their display booths, which Chambers claims are often works of art in themselves.

In addition, the event is now organized by the Temple Terrace Arts Council as its signature project, and it has enjoyed a number of different sites.

Due to the city's liability issue caused by exposed and hazardous tree roots at the Riverhills Park site, it moved to an open field at Greco Middle School in 2014.

Now it shifts to Woodmont Park, a location that will bring it closer to the nearby church and country club where it began.

The tree-canopied park with a gazebo, in Chambers' view, will add a new level of ambience to the juried event, which he expects to include 90 artists and crafters from throughout the state and well beyond.

"You'll see a lot of great art in a beautiful setting," said Chambers, a member of the Temple Terrace Arts Council.

Added arts council president and event chairman Sharon Gaskin: "We have a lot of young artists and a lot more fine arts artists."

What's more, there will be a host of entertainment to satisfy the pleasures of people of all ages.

Among them is the Wesley Chapel Wind Ensemble, meant to cater to the adults in the crowd; First Impressions, a kids' art activities area led by artists Pete Lawson and Kim Straub, also known as Pete and RePete; and the Fresh Views art exhibit, featuring the juried works of elementary-age students from 11 Temple Terrace area schools competing for a total of up to $5,000 in prize money.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, (Nov. 12) festival goers also can take a peek inside Woodmont Clubhouse where the Temple Terrace Garden Club will host a standard flower show and photography exhibit featuring a display of award-winning creations.

In addition, folks can curb their hunger pangs and indulge in delights of their choice, thanks to the many food truck vendors who'll be on site.

"It's a great way for a family to spend a great fall day and you can also shop for handmade things and holiday gifts that are so much nicer than those that are store bought from big-box places," Gaskin said.

There are no fees for admission to the event, the entertainment, or the parking — at the adjoining Temple Terrace Elementary School, 124 Flotto Ave., and nearby youth baseball fields — where there also will be a complimentary shuttle bus service to and from the festival.

Contact Joyce McKenzie at [email protected]

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