Painted Vases and Handmade Quilts Sold at Annual Lake Ashton Craft Fair
by James Coulter
Lynda Warden is a member of the Lake Ashton Blankets of Love. She and her fellow quilters, which consists of 150 club members, sew blankets that they then donate to children in need across Polk County. Last year, they donated more than 1,500 blankets to children at local schools and through the guardian ad litem program.
Every year, they host a sale to raise money so they can purchase fabric. This year, they attended the annual Lake Ashton Craft Fair to sell some of their blankets to help raise their proceeds. Warden and her group had attended several years ago, and they decided to return this year.
“I like to see all the people and talk to all the people,” Warden said. “Everyone here is nice.”
The Lake Ashton Blankets of Love were one of nearly one hundred vendors who participated in this year’s Craft Fair hosted at Lake Ashton Clubhouse in Lake Wales. Last Saturday, these vendors showcased their diverse arts and crafts for visitors to peruse and purchase, from holiday wreaths and scarfs to gnome dolls and plastic ornaments.
Rick Arnold is a local musician and artist who has performed at many events at Lake Ashton. Aside from performing music, he also created oil paintings and painted vases. His oil paintings are created through oil and acrylic paint, and his vases are painted with acrylic. In either case, he usually paints landscapes and patriotic portraits.
Arnold has many friends who reside at Lake Ashton, which is how he learned about the craft fair. He has been attending for the past few years, with this year being his third. He loves to come back time and again for the good company.
“I keep coming back because of the good people and the good show,” he said. “It is just a very nice place to set up right, it is a good place to come and find a bunch of good prints.”
Joan DiBattista, President of The Lake Ashton Veterans Association Auxiliary, hosts this fair with her organization to raise money for charity. Every year, they choose a local organization to donate to. This year, they chose K9 for Veterans. This year drew in more than 6,000 visitors, and the proceeds they generate through it will most certainly go to a good cause, Joan said.
“The turnout has been tremendous,” she said. “We have had more than 6,000 people turn out thus far. So we know it has been the highest count. We can make a nice contribution to our veterans charity and the vendors want to come again next year.”