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Art league takes festival to park

The Fall Harvest of Art this year will be at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville, a site that offers a pleasant outdoor setting for the 65 arts and crafts vendors from all over the state.

By JOY DAVIS-PLATT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 19, 2001


BROOKSVILLE -- Despite moving its arts and crafts show to a new location again, the Spring Hill Art League expects its 28th annual Fall Harvest of Art to find fertile ground this weekend in Brooksville's Tom Varn Park.

The event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, moves from last year's location at the Sand Hill Scout Reservation near Weeki Wachee. The year before, the show had been at Weeki Wachee Park.

Art league president Anne Preston said the move is economic and should work out to the advantage of both vendors and visitors.

Earlier this year, the Hernando County Art, Craft and Music Festival, formerly known as the Masaryktown Arts and Crafts Festival, moved to Tom Varn Park and drew large crowds.

This year's Fall Harvest of Art features 65 arts and crafts vendors from all over the state, said Shirley Houghton, the art league's publicity chairwoman.

"Surprisingly, the majority of the people are artists rather than crafters," Houghton said. "Usually, that swings the other way. We feel very lucky about that."

Despite a lack of visibility at last year's location, Houghton said the event drew several thousand people over the weekend.

"We continually had people coming by to talk," said Houghton, who will have a booth at the festival to display a collection of her oil paintings. "And Tom Varn Park is supposed to be even nicer with trees and grass -- a really pretty place to have a show."

The Spring Hill Art League is associated with Hernando's west side, but Preston said the group thinks its best option is the Brooksville park.

During its 27-year history, the art and crafts festival has been in a shopping center parking lot, a retirement community and behind the Spring Hill waterfall on Spring Hill Drive.

Besides art and crafts, attractions at this weekend's festival will include pony rides, children's painting, face painting and student art, Houghton said. Nine vendors will provide food for the event, including hamburgers, chicken, sausages, ice cream and lemonade.

"We have all kinds of things. Just about anything you could imagine," she said.

If you go

The Spring Hill Art League's 28th annual Fall Harvest of Art will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville.

Admission and parking are free. There will be food and refreshments for sale. The park is off W Jefferson Street (State Road 50A) on the west side of Brooksville. The St. Petersburg Times is a sponsor of the event.

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