LAKE PLACID –– The 51st annual Lake Placid Arts and Crafts Country Fair opened to sunny skies and a warm welcome from Mayor John Holbrook. The Lake Placid High School JROTC presented colors to a rendition of the national anthem and Rev. Ray Cameron prayed for a safe, successful and sun-soaked weekend. His prayer was answered.
The show opener on the entertainment stage at the gazebo in Deane Park was the Mountain Dew Cloggers who have been dancing in Lake Placid for 30 years. The group ranges in age from 15 to 69 years old. They practice under the direction of Lori Text. A crowd took seats early to enjoy their performance. Marti Capodiferro also performed on Saturday, sharing her singing talent. Sunday saw Christ Risen Dance Group and Prince and the Pauper round out the weekend.
There were steady crowds all weekend, most seeking treasures to take home. Food was abundant and delicious. Sausages, fried catfish, chicken on a stick, burgers and hot dogs were all topped off with a funnel cake or strawberry short cake and ice cream...all for the benefit of local charities, churches and service clubs.
Clowns walked the booth aisles to the smiles of the kids. Puppies and dogs showed up for adoption from the Humane Society of Highlands County and a 21-year-old bald eagle graced the park, shown by Wrede’s Wildlife Rehab of Sebring. He eats a pound of food a day, usually a rodent, fish or raw chicken. Folks snapped photos of the bird all day.
A shuttle service transported visitors from DeVane Park to Lake Placid Elementary School to view a kaleidoscope of fine art and crafts on display there.
Over 100 vendors sold their wares in DeVane Park. They were varied, offering something for every taste.
Ademir Borges from Cape Coral sold many of his bird wood carvings in a display that looked like an avery.
At the information booth, visitors could mix and match and purchase a bag of caladium bulbs to adorn their lawn or send to a friend up north.
Celia Mathews sold Ginny’s Fudge, from the company named after her grandmother. “We are the third generation of confectioners,” Mathews said. “This is my 10th year at the Country Fair.”
Dan Davenport of American Forging travels to more than 70 shows each year. He creates his art pieces by using recycled soda cans. “I melt them into a sheet, create a steel dye in reverse, lie them flat and hammer my art.” He’s been at it for 14 years, starting as a part time hobby while still a Michigan police officer.
Mitti Laaninen of New York displayed his inland wood art. A table he named, “Butterfly Koi” was made with 422 pieces of wood, mother of pearl and stone. It was a true work of art. Many of his creations sell for over $2,800.
Errol Bishop of Miami sold his line of Caribbean Cooking Magic. The array of sauces were presented in glasses and lined, as he told the samplers, “from the sweet to the heat.” The braver testers went right to the heat.
Besides art of all types, vendors sold fudge, wines, yard deco, tropical shirts, jewelry, cowboy and kangaroo hats, plants and flowers, veggies, dips, soaps, mugs and rocking chairs. Vendors went home with cash in their pockets and visitors left with newly-found treasures and full bellies.
Humane Society animals not adopted at the Country Fair are available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter at 7421 Haywood Taylor Blvd. in Sebring. The pets are neutered, have a micro chip inserted, received all shots andarea tested for heart worm and treated for fleas.