Arts and crafts festival finds new home

The GFWC Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival has a new home.

After months of searching, the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club found an ideal fit for the festival at Keystone Prep High School, 18105 Gunn Highway in Odessa.

The festival is slated for the first weekend in December.

The GFWC Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival will take place at Keystone Prep High School on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 this year. Last year’s festival was cancelled at Lake Park after a sinkhole developed in a road. (File Photo)

The GFWC Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival will take place at Keystone Prep High School on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 this year. Last year’s festival was cancelled at Lake Park after a sinkhole developed in a road.
(File Photo)

According to woman’s club president Cathy Mathes, the two-day festival will be at Keystone Prep for “the next few years.”

Mathes was particularly impressed by the school’s large property, and the school’s enthusiasm in hosting the event.

“They’re getting the students involved. They have a really involved parent club that’s going to be doing a lot of work, too,” the club president said, noting the festival will be mutually beneficial for fundraising purposes.

Last December, the 36th annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Festival was cancelled at Lake Park due to a sinkhole that was estimated as being around 6 feet wide and 100 feet deep. The club had also encountered some problems with flooding on park roads during previous arts and crafts festivals.

After the cancellation, the woman’s club opted to find a new location to house the popular event, which typically attracts up to 30,000 people.

The festival is the largest yearly fundraiser for the club, which gives back to the community in the form of college scholarships and donations to local charities.

The process of finding a new location was “quite a search,” according to Pat Serio, head of public relations for the woman’s club.

“Finding a new venue is not as easy as it appears,” Serio said. “We can’t just relocate to a (land) parcel. We have to have infrastructure and electricity.”

Serio added it was important to keep the arts and crafts festival near Lutz.

“A lot of people pitched location ideas, but some weren’t practical or weren’t going to work,” Serio said.

“Someone, for instance, suggested the (Florida State) Fairgrounds. We can’t do that; we have to keep it in our area.”

To make up for the dearth of funds caused by cancellation of the festival nearly three months ago, the woman’s club plans to host several smaller events and fundraisers throughout the year.

“We’re trying to take the burden off our club members’ shoulders, because it’s a heavy financial demand on us,” Serio said. “We’re trying to reach our (donation) numbers.”

One new event, titled ‘White Nights,’ is slated for October near the Lutz Branch Library. It will feature music, food and original artwork for sale at reasonable prices.

Published March 2, 2016

 

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