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Great Day in the Country Spreads Its Wings

Featured Photo from Great Day in the Country Spreads Its Wings

Oviedo’s iconic festival moves to Oviedo on the Park this year, making “Great Day” that much greater

It will still have great arts and crafts vendors. Fun crowds of friends and neighbors will still come out to support a great cause. And tempting choices of things to eat or drink will continue to abound. But observant folk will notice that things are a bit different this year at the 43rd Annual Great Day in the Country Arts & Crafts Festival in Oviedo.

Maybe the free, air-conditioned shuttle buses from the festival’s satellite parking lot, with ample room for strollers and wheelchairs, will be a big hit. Perhaps attendees will notice two entertainment stages, not just one. But the biggest – or “Greatest” – change of all, of course, is Great Day in the Country’s brand-new home around Center Lake Park at Oviedo on the Park.

The GFWC Oviedo Woman’s Club, which runs the yearly festival, did not make a hasty decision to move the event from the grounds of Lawton Elementary School to Oviedo on the Park. The club has been considering a move for a while now, and Oviedo on the Park came online just at the right time, says the club’s publicity chair, Stacy Conomos. The goal is to make the event even more successful than it’s been in the past, with room for even more new elements in the future.
“We’re so excited,” says Stacy. “This has been a work in progress for the last couple of years.”

Great Day in the Country attendees numbered more than 60,000 last year, according to the Woman’s Club. Now that the festival will be in an all-new setting, the community can hop online at GreatDayOviedo.org to see how the new festival grounds will be set up for the November 12 event.

“The map is already up, vendors are on there,” says Stacy, referring to the event’s website, which gives updates on what’s planned, ways to get involved as a sponsor, and all details about the Saturday event.

“People come from all over the state to come to Great Day,” says Oviedo City Council member Cindy Drago, who chairs Great Day in the Country along with Regina Bereswill. Cindy says the new venue offers exciting possibilities for years to come. “We are so looking forward to having the event at the new location, in a space we look forward to growing into. We hope vendors and patrons enjoy it.”

Art in the Park
Just as it did in the former location, the festival’s annual Student Art Fest, now in its 22nd year, will display artwork from students at Carillon, Evans, Geneva, Lawton, Partin, Stenstrom, and Walker elementary schools; Jackson Heights and Lawton Chiles middle schools; and Hagerty and Oviedo high schools. At this year’s festival, work will be exhibited in two spots: outside the Amphitheater and Cultural Center and near the Kids’ Area. Art awards totaling $2,200 will be given out at 10:00 a.m. on November 12.

In addition to all the usual Great Day in the Country vendors and exhibitors, this year’s event will include the many Center Lake Park amenities like a large playground for children, a splash pad, and even a dog park. For arts and crafts shoppers looking for holiday gifts or just something for the home, more than 300 vendors will offer fine art, handmade jewelry, unique paintings, and more. For artisans that don’t take credit cards, ATMs will be located on festival grounds.

And, with two food courts, those shoppers will not go hungry. The festival’s Country Store Café will be offering up homemade baked goods, and the GFWC Oviedo Woman’s Club’s now-famous bean soup will be available, as well. Hamburgers, barbecue ribs, kettle corn, Greek food, gelato, and ice cream all have places on the menu.

Organizing for a Cause

Not only is the Great Day in the Country festival a fun community event, it also raises funds for various local and global causes, all coordinated through the Oviedo Woman’s Club.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the Oviedo Woman’s Club does all of the planning for the event; they think the city puts it on,” Stacy says. But the event is, in fact, completely organized and run by Woman’s Club volunteers. The Oviedo Woman’s Club was started in the 1900s as a book club and evolved into a community service group that now has more than 100 members.
“The club has given more than $700,000 over the last several years,” Stacy reports. The donations have been in the form of grant money, school program support, scholarships, military support, and international outreach.

“Cindy Drago and Regina Bereswill have done a wonderful job in planning this year’s festival,” says Stacy.

Get Ready for a Great Day

The 43rd Annual Great Day in the Country 

Arts & Crafts Festival is Saturday, November 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at its new location: Center Lake Park at Oviedo on the Park.

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