Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival offers ‘something for everyone’
By Kyle LoJacono
The second most-attended festival in Hillsborough County makes its return to Lake Park in Lutz on Dec. 3-4, marking the ceremonial start to the holiday season.
The 51st annual Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival, which moved to Lake Park off Dale Mabry Highway 32 years ago, brings out 20,000-30,000 visitors each year, according to event co-chairwomen Phyllis Hoedt.
“That makes it second in Hillsborough to the Gasparilla Art Festival,” Hoedt said. “It’s also one of the largest in all of Florida, and we have vendors from all across the state, and even out of state, who sell their wares.”
Jack Beverland is one of the 250 vendors who will set up shop at the two-day event. The San Antonio resident sells artwork at various shows across central Florida, but never misses the Lutz festival.
“It’s probably the best attended one I do all year,” said Beverland, who first came to the event in 2009. “The weather is usually good, and people come from all over to see what’s for sale.”
Beverland said his specialty is making glow-in-the-dark artwork.
Hoedt said there will be many different kinds of artists at the festival, along with holiday gifts, clothes, jewelry and crafts.
“Just about anything you could want,” said Hoedt. “It’s a great place to do your Christmas or holiday shopping for everyone on your list because there’s something for everyone. If you need something for someone you’ll likely find it, and the great thing is the artists there are the people who made it.”
There is also festival-style food like funnel cakes and kettle corn, along with a variety for more hearty offerings like barbecue and grilled favorites.
Wilma Stewart, of New Tampa, first learned about the festival about seven years ago when she moved from Atlanta.
“I was in Lutz and I saw a really big sign about this craft show,” Stewart said. “I love crafts and festivals, so I was in. … I was expecting a couple of booths and some food, but the first time I saw row after row I was really amazed something like this exists right here. It looks more like something from a big city like Chicago or New York City.”
The event, which is organized by the Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, is always the first weekend in December.
“The festival started at the Old Lutz School on (US) 41 and later moved to the train depot across the street,” said Shirley Simmons, event co-chairwoman. “It moved to Lake Park to make room for more booths and people.”
Hoedt said the mission of the festival includes three goals.
“One is to have a festival that is open to the public for their enjoyment,” Hoedt said. “Two is to allow artists to show, be judged and sell their works. Three, and most important to our club, is to make money that is given right back to the community.”
Hoedt said money raised by selling booths spaces is reinvested back into the community by giving grants to local Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Civil Air Patrol, youth scholarships, the Lutz volunteer fire department and the Lutz Branch Library, among other places.
Anyone interested in buying a booth space should call Hoedt at (813) 949-1937 or Simmons at (813) 949-7060.
Admission is free for the festival itself, but parking is $2 per vehicle. That money does not go to anyone involved with the event, but rather to the Hillsborough parks department for use of the site.
Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival
- Where: Lake Park off Dale Mabry Highway
- When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 4
- Parking: $2 per vehicle
- Admission: free
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