The popular Lutz Arts and Crafts festival returns to Lake Park this weekend, and event organizers have been busy all year to make the annual holiday tradition better than ever.
"It's a huge undertaking to put on the show," co-chairwoman Shirley Simmons said in a previous interview.
The festival —in its 32nd year— had humble beginnings.
"We started at the old Lutz Schoolhouse," co-chairwoman and event founder Phyliss Hoedt said. There were about 50 booths at the time, she said.
"And, we've just gotten bigger," Hoedt said.
This year's event will feature about 300 artisan vendors, with wares ranging from original paintings to woodworking, jewelry and ceramics.
"There's something there for everyone," Simmons said.
And there will be treats galore, including kettle corn, cobblers, gourmet coffee and an array of offerings from local food vendors.
Many of the festival's vendors return year after year, but there also are a lot of first-time vendors this year, Simmons said.
The festival serves the major fundraiser for the GFWC Lutz-Land O' Lakes Woman's Club, Simmons said. Profits from the event are used to fund a multitude of projects and nonprofit organiztions the club supports, such as Christian Social Services, K9 Companions and Rock Camp for pediatric cancer patients.
The money raised also funds several scholarships to Lutz and Land O' Lakes high school seniors, Simmons said.
"It really pleases me to do the work and see the money come in so we can support these projects," Simmons said.
Last year's festival drew about 30,000 visitors, but there is plenty of room to roam. And there is so much to do, you can make a day of it, Simmons said.
The event is free to attend, but there is a $2 per car charge to enter Lake Park.
But for that $2, "you can come and have fun all day," Simmons said.
"It's a great way to purchase gifts for the holidays and support the community," Simmons said.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4.