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Crowds dictate a change of art

Formerly a Masaryktown festival, the Hernando County Art, Craft and Music Festival is making its home for the second year at a scenic Brooksville park for its growing group of fans.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002

BROOKSVILLE -- Thousands are expected to gather at Brooksville's Tom Varn Park this weekend to celebrate art, crafts and music.

Formerly known as the Masaryktown Arts and Crafts Festival, the Hernando County Art, Craft and Music Festival made the move north last year to accommodate the estimated 20,000 people who attend each year.

"You have to remember this is the 18th year, so there is a history there," said event organizer David Weinman. "We have always featured some of the finest artists around."

More than 100 fine artists and crafters will line a 1-mile shaded walkway through the park, giving visitors an opportunity to see everything, Weinman said.

"It's really perfect," said Weinman, who is heading up the festival committee for the second year. "There is a lovely tree-lined area that leads right past all the booths."

Between Tom Varn Park and the adjacent Bud McKeethan Park, the site has nearly 80 acres, more than enough to accommodate the ever-increasing festival crowds, Weinman said.

Recently, the Fine Arts Council secured annual use of the site from the Brooksville City Council for the next decade.

Featuring a juried art show, the festival boasts nearly $6,000 in award money for winners chosen by a panel of judges.

"Really, I think that is what draws the high caliber of artists we get," Weinman said. "It's well worth it."

Traditionally scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, the annual festival was originally little more than a get-together for area folk painters, sculptors and jewelry makers. But participation and attendance swelled as years passed and word spread about the quality of art at the festival.

Eventually, craft vendors joined the other artists to showcase their wares. Performers were recruited to entertain crowds. Food and drink were also added.

This year's festival will feature live music on a stage near the ballpark. Performers will include jazz vocalist Lisa Perry and blues singer "Molten Mike" Desselle.

The festival is now one of the largest of its kind in Hernando County and has grown into somewhat of a season finale for the area's winter and spring art shows.

If you go

The 18th annual Hernando County Art, Craft & Music Festival will be this weekend at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville. The park is off W Jefferson Street (State Road 50A) on the west side of the city. The event features more than 100 exhibits by artists and crafts vendors displaying original works. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Call 684-6288.


(On stage near ball fields)


10 a.m. -- Singer Kelly Trappio

11 a.m. -- Mike Tellone & Company

Noon -- Judy Kay, country singer

2 p.m. -- Molten Mike, blues singer


10 a.m. -- The Step Sisters

11 a.m. -- Lisa Perry, jazz vocalist

Noon -- Announcements

1 p.m. -- Steven Aldridge

2 p.m. -- Hernando Jazz Society

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