With a new venue in place, the 37th annual GFWC Lutz Arts & Crafts Show promises to be “bigger and better than ever.”
The show — one of the most popular events in Hillsborough County — will be on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 at Keystone Prep High School, 18105 Gunn Highway in Odessa.
After last year’s show was cancelled due to a sinkhole at Lake Park, the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club scrambled for about three months to find a new permanent venue location.
The club signed a five-year contract with Keystone Prep to hold the festival on the school’s property, which spans over 60 acres.
“We’ve got a lot more room,” said club chairwoman Faith Sincich.
Other possible venues — Land O’ Lakes Community Center and the Florida State Fairgrounds — were also explored.
“Our club really banded together,” said Kay Taylor, art show director. “We have 100 members, and we had people from the whole club check out venues.”
The club is hoping for a “smooth transition” in the show’s first year at Keystone Prep.
“We’re trying to anticipate every single hiccup that can happen,” Sincich said.
The show director agreed.
“We know we have more to address,” Taylor said, “because the county provided things like dumpsters and electricity.”
After the show’s cancellation in 2015, this year’s event may prove to be one of the largest ever.
The club expects to have 355 vendors — about 50 more than two years ago — and anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 attendees.
“We’ve never been this full at this time,” Taylor said. “We have a lot of new vendors.”
Additionally, existing vendors, Taylor said, will have more distinctive offerings compared to previous shows.
“What they did 10 years ago isn’t what they’re doing today,” Taylor explained. “The crafts are more sophisticated and evolving. It is a perfect place to go Christmas shopping.”
Attendees can expect to see a wide assortment of items, including paintings and photography, jewelry, plants, and various forms of art — metal art, wood art, yard art.
“If it’s a craft, we have it,” Taylor said. “We’ve got some really unique items coming in this year. There’s a guy that makes lamps out of musical instruments.”
There will also be an eclectic offering of soap crafts, club members said.
“One lady makes hers in the shape of desserts, so her display looks like a bakery,” Sincich said. “It’s really a cool display.”
The show’s food offerings have expanded, too.
The club expects 14 food booths, which will be arranged in a U-shape, resembling a makeshift food court.
“We bumped up our food vendors,” Sincich said. “We have a cake vendor coming in, as well as an award-winning barbecue guy.”
The arts & crafts show 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.
To make up for the shortage of funds triggered by the cancellation of last year’s show, the woman’s club hosted several smaller events and fundraisers throughout the year.
Yet, it wasn’t enough.
Approximately $16,000 was taken out of the club’s scholarship budget as a direct result of the festival’s cancellation.
“It really hit our budget very hard,” said Pat Serio, head of public relations for the woman’s club. “We had to scale everything back. It’s been a very difficult year for fundraising.”
Show vendors, too, “took a hit” by last year’s cancellation.
“This was a big event for them,” Sincich said, “and the vendors are very anxious to be back.”
Described as a “family friendly event,” the annual shindig is a staple for the Lutz community.
“Typically, it is a very nice weekend,” Sincich said. “One thing I like about it is I see a lot of people and friends. It’s like a huge community event…and I’m really happy to welcome Odessa, because I think that’s kind of a similar community. It’ll be fun to incorporate their community with ours.”
What: 37th annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Show
When: Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Dec. 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Keystone Preparatory High School, 18105 Gunn Highway in Odessa
Cost: Free admission to the show, but there will be a $5 parking fee to benefit the school.
For information, call Kay Taylor at (727) 842-8624 or Lois Cohen at (813) 528-1179.
Show Categories (Awards up to $250 in each division)
- Division I—Painting: Graphics, Drawings, Watercolors, Acrylics
- Division II—Sculpture: Wood, Clay, etc.
- Division III—Crafts: Fine, as well as Wood, Jewelry, Wearable Art, etc.
- Division IV—Photography
Published November 9, 2016