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East Lake council planning jamboree

Break out the cowboy hats.

The East Lake Community Council this week began planning a country-western jamboree, tentatively scheduled for next March. Council members hope the celebration will become an annual event that will pull all of East Lake together.

"This is something that is the beginning of creating a real community here in East Lake," vice president Ronald Grant said Tuesday.

Although East Lake is known nowadays as a booming suburban area, 30 years ago the landowners tended to be cattlemen like Al Boyd, former owner of the sprawling Boot Ranch. The jamboree would celebrate that heritage, council president Mary Anne Schmidt said.

Originally, the council members wanted to hold a rodeo, Schmidt said. But they decided that would be too complicated to pull off, at least for the first year, she said.

"We want to start small and eventually try to make it countywide," she said.

She said the jamboree could become an important feature of life in East Lake, much the way the annual Renaissance Fair draws visitors to Largo.

The council's members voted Tuesday night to begin planning their first jamboree for March 6.

Schmidt said she already has contacted a local radio station about providing music, and that officials from East Lake High School and the company developing Lansbrook have agreed to let the jamboree be held on the company's land in front of the school.

At the jamboree, Schmidt suggested, the council could hand out an award for a distinguished teacher and a resident who has made a difference in the community, and call them the Al Boyd awards.

"We could make it a big boot," suggested treasurer Marianne Wayne.

"No!" Grant said. "We're not going to give anyone the boot."