After calling off its biggest fundraiser of the year last year, the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club will host its 42nd annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Show during the first weekend of December.
The event has been popular for decades, typically attracting between 20,000 and 30,000 people, over the course of the weekend.
The annual arts and crafts show — known throughout the region — started small, with a crafts show at the Old Lutz School.
It outgrew that venue and moved across U.S. 41, in traditional downtown Lutz, to the train depot community park, in front of the Lutz Branch Library.
Next, it moved to Lake Park, on North Dale Mabry Highway, before landing at its current venue, at Keystone Prep High School, 18105 Gunn Highway, in Odessa.
The event, geared with holiday shopping in mind, has been held without fail for decades, except for two years. It was canceled in 2015 because of a sinkhole in Lake Park, and it was called off last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers are confident that big crowds will turn out this year, as long as people realize the event is back on and as long as they remember that the venue moved to Keystone Prep High a few years back.
Those attending the event will be able to choose items from more than 200 vendors, said Faith Sincich, the event chair and a member of the woman’s club for 30 years.
While COVID-19 slammed the brakes on many activities last year, there is at least one silver lining, she said.
“Most vendors spent all of COVID making things because they couldn’t do anything else. Most vendors have a lot of inventory that they’re anxious to market,” she explained.
In other words, expect an excellent opportunity to find interesting and unique items.
Pat Serio, a woman’s club member, listed off categories of items that will be available: “Metal work. Woodwork. Handcrafted jewelry. All kinds of artisanal things — perfumes, soaps, sauces. Unusual plants.”
There are plenty of items geared for children, too, Sincich said.
“They do a lot of trendy things, for grandchildren. My daughter has already put in some requests (for items for her children),” she said.
Over the years, the event has become known for its fun and friendly atmosphere, and its holiday vibe.
Santa will be there on both days. An orchestra will play holiday tunes. And, of course, there will be lots of food choices. The woman’s club will have its hot dog booth. The Boy Scouts will be cooking up something, too. And, there will be other vendors at the food court and the school will be selling food.
Admission is free, but there is a $5 charge per vehicle for regular parking and a $10 charge for VIP parking. Handicapped spaces will be available, but the supply is limited and is quickly exhausted.
Proceeds from the event support scholarships and a wide array of community causes.
Plus, it’s fun, said Serio, who has been pitching in on the event for about 20 years.
“It’s a wonderful family atmosphere,” Serio said.
“The crowd is enthusiastic. They’re all walking out with arms full of purchases, so something is going right,” the woman’s club member said.
42nd annual Lutz Arts & Crafts Show
Where: Keystone Prep High School, 18105 Gunn Highway, in Odessa
When: Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dec. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free; VIP parking is $10 and regular parking is $5; there is a limited amount of handicapped parking.
Details: More than 200 vendors will offer items ranging from home décor, specialty foods, photography, jewelry and fine art at this juried art show. Santa is expected to make appearances on both days of the event, which has a holiday vibe and tends to be a big hit with families.