BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
You know it's fall when the first big outdoor arts festival of the season arrives.
Yes, it's Art Harvest time.
The event is 50 years old, which makes it older than other great area festivals such as Festival Beth-El, Gasparilla Festival of the Arts and Mainsail Arts Festival. But it remains fresh and youthful, with little tents spread around Highlander Park and the adjacent lake in Dunedin.
This year, more than 200 artists will offer lots of arts and crafts options in ceramics, prints, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, wood, sculpture, photography, painting and watercolor. This is a juried show, which means a committee assessed applicants and chose the best. It's good quality control but it's also a practicality since there isn't room for all the artists who apply.
You go to Art Harvest because it's fun and a good opening salvo for holiday shopping. (Nothing says "I love you" like an original work of art or fine craft.)
You're also doing a good thing for the community. Art Harvest is presented by the Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin. It's a nonprofit volunteer organization of women that has pumped more the $1.5 million into community projects and donated more than 1 million volunteer hours over 65 years. The big current project is the Foster Teen Training Center, which addresses the needs of local teens when they become too old to qualify for help from the foster care system. The league partners with the city of Clearwater and social service agencies, providing funding and volunteers. Art Harvest is its major moneymaker, so your presence helps.
And you won't go hungry. Vendors will offer hamburgers, hot dogs, corn dogs, Italian sausage, chicken sandwiches, fries, Greek food, wraps and salads, barbecue, Mexican specialties and lots of sweets. Beverages include sodas, water, coffee, fruit smoothies, fresh squeezed lemonade, beer and wine.
A free children's activity area, where kids must be accompanied by an adult, will have crafty activities.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8293.