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Festival Promotes Community Arts and Gardening

Casa Tina's and Dunedin Harvest Food & Garden Co-op host downtown fundraiser festival.

Dunedin's inaugural is a two-day event featuring gardening and sustainability demonstrations, paper lantern-making workshops and an assortment of natural food and live music.

“For 10 years I’ve been trying to put together a lantern festival but it never gelled before,” said Tina Marie Avila, owner of , and .

Avila is involved in fundraising for several causes, including children’s art and music, and sustainable food. She contacted the force behind Dunedin Harvest Food & Garden Co-op, Bree Cheatham, and with a little brainstorming, the project took off.

“It’s just evolved, and it looks like it’s going to be great,” Avila said. “I’m very much into art that’s made by the community.”

Lantern festivals are held all over the world, but not locally, she said.

Professional lantern makers from Atlanta-based Krewe of the Grateful Gluttons, nationally known for their efforts in organizing artistic community events, will lead the workshops.

A raffle, donations and profits from all meals, drinks and merchandise sales at Avila’s three restaurants will be donated to fund Dunedin Harvest & Garden Co-op’s two main projects: the Planting Seeds workshop series and the 1-Percent Food Project.

  • Planting Seeds is a free organic gardening workshop series offered to the public, providing ongoing education to local residents with topics including Florida vegetable gardening and other sustainable living practices.
  • The Dunedin 1-Percent Food Project is a new initiative encouraging one percent of all households in Dunedin to use a small part of their land and their time to grow food.

“The festival will be our debut of promoting the 1-Percent Food Project,” said Cheatham, who is leading an effort in Dunedin and Pinellas County to create organic home gardens and co-op community gardens, providing locally-prepared, healing foods and community education.

“Our goal is to grow the local food economy and support sustainability, to get people thinking about where their food comes from and what they’re putting on their food,” said Courtney King, referring to the chemicals that are typically sprayed on fruits and vegetables. She is a local grower and volunteer with Dunedin Harvest & Garden Co-op.

The festival will culminate with a Parade of Light at 8 p.m., in which participants will use their newly-created lanterns during a parade through downtown Dunedin.

“People can come out and work for a few hours and they’re part of something, to make something that’s interesting and have it be seen by lots of people,” Avila said.

Want to Go?

  • WHERE: Downtown , , and . (Organic food options at Cabana & Pan y Vino.)
  • WHEN: Saturday, April 23 from 2 to 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 24 from noon to 8:30 p.m.
  • ON STAGE: Between Bluffs on Saturday, and Funky Seeds and La Lucha on Sunday, along with six other bands.
  • MORE INFO: .

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