Woman’s club offers giant flea market

Donations are still rolling in for one of the Tampa Bay area’s most popular flea markets.

The annual GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club flea market is scheduled for March 3 and March 4 at the Historic Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41 in Lutz.

Events hours are from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., on both days.

The annual GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club flea market is scheduled for March 3 and March 4 at the Historic Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41 in Lutz. The hours both days are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The flea market has been a staple in Lutz for more than 35 years.
(Kevin Weiss)

Club members have been gathering and sorting thousands of donated goods since Feb. 13.

Locals have provided a wide range of items, including household and children’s goods, antiques and collectibles, sports equipment and gardening tools.

Higher-end products, such as silver and crystal, also will be sold at the market.

Clothing items, as usual, are in high supply.

They’ll also be in high demand, said Pat Serio, one of the flea market’s organizers.

“Clothing is so hugely popular, because most items are $1 per piece, with the exception of a few boutique items,” she said.

“People walk out with armfuls,” Serio said.

Many flea market items, Serio said, are in the $1 to $5 range.

Other goods — like children’s toys and crafts — can be had for a quarter.

Shoppers, too, can often find rare “treasures” — like depression-era glasses — at relatively good prices.

“We’re our own best donors. We give the bulk of this stuff, and we solicit all of our friends,” Serio said. “We love donating, and we love shopping.”

The flea market has been a staple in Lutz for more than 35 years, organizers say. It had modest beginnings, with “just a few tables” at the Lutz Train Depot.

In a short time, however, the event outgrew that location.

Now, thousands flock to the Historic Old Lutz School during the two-day run.

It is now the club’s second-largest fundraiser, behind the annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Show each December.

Sales from the flea market go toward the club’s college scholarship fund.

At the end of the event, leftover items will be donated to local organizations, including Goodwill and Salvation Army, local nursing homes, veterans’ charities and local libraries.

Put simply: “Nothing goes to waste,” Serio said.

Besides the woman’s club, groups such as Boy Scout Troop 12 and the University of South Florida’s Sigma Lambda Gamma sorority chapter pitch in to help with the event.

About 80 other volunteers also help, including club members’ husbands and children.

Last year, the flea market was the organization’s primary fundraiser after the arts show was cancelled due to a burgeoning sinkhole in Lake Park.

That led to a budget shortfall — which the organization is still recovering from, Serio said.

Even so, the burden for a banner showing is lesser compared to 2016.

“There isn’t so much stress about how much money we’re going to make to fill the coffers,” Serio said. “But, there’s always stress involved in coordinating, and there’s a lot of chaos involved…”

Still, members find a way to have a fun experience once the flea market commences.

“We all enjoy it,” Serio said.  “We like to think of ourselves as the ‘Chiseler’s North.’”

Karin D’Amico, the club’s president, acknowledged the event takes “a lot of work.” However, the immense community support makes it worthwhile, she said.

“We have carload after carload of people …dropping off stuff,” D’Amico said. “That’s what I think is (special) — the community coming out for us, and you can really feel the support…”

Anyone who wishes to donate items for the flea market still has time. Donations will be accepted until March 1. All donations should be in clean and in working order. Large appliances and sleeper sofas cannot be accepted.

To find out more about making a donation, call (813) 948-4752.

GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club Flea Market
Where: Old Lutz School, 18819 U.S. 41 in Lutz
When: March 3 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and March 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For information, call (813) 948-4752.

Published March 1, 2017

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