23rd Annual Fiesta in the Park brings locals together
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 16:04
23rd Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park. The event was held at Lake Eola Park and consisted of more than 200 original artists, crafters and food booths.
Reclaimed objects such as broken glass and encrusted metals were found in new form at the booth belonging to Susan Harrison, owner of Susan F. Harrison Fine Arts, who creates one-of-a-kind wearable art. Harrison said she was first inspired by sea glass that she had found and realized someone had just thrown it overboard.
“There’s a lot of stuff that people throw away and I thought, ‘What are the possibilities, what are the opportunities?’ from a design standpoint,” Harrison said. “It’s been somewhat of a passion for me.”
Among the other vendors selling handcrafted products was Pati Pati Imports, a company that specializes in handmade footwear called the Ten Thousand Mile Sandals, using resources from Maasai tribe in East Africa. The sandals are made from leather from the Maasai cow, and the beads are imported from the tribe as well. According to the company’s website, the bottom of the shoes are made from recycled rubber and tire, giving the Ten Thousand Mile Sandals their name.
Liz Schaffer, who has owned the business for three and half years, said not only does Pati Pati Imports donate 10 percent of its proceeds to the Maasai village, but it also supports a local school, Karicheni Primary School, in East Africa. The company is in the process of raising money for more permanent classrooms for the students.
“These shoes come with a purpose,” Schaffer said. “I have another business on the side, but I’m not as passionate about it as I am to this one, because this one has a cause even if it doesn’t make a lot of money. I’m happy because whatever money I make here is a lot of money there.”
Pati Pati Imports wasn’t the only organization that came with a purpose. Rescuing Animals In Need has a mission that can be clearly seen in its name: to rescue abandoned animals, knowing every animal they save makes a difference, according to its website. With adoption fees and donations being its only means of financial support, the no-kill shelter is made up entirely of volunteers who dedicate their time to help animals in need.
“I just have a heart for animals,” volunteer Erica Martinez said.
Live music was provided by 98.9 WMMO Acoustic Café coupled with seating to give particpants a break from their unique shopping sprees. Among the musicians was Jonnie Morgan of the local Jonnie Morgan Band. Morgan, a UCF alumnus who graduated in 2010 with bachelor’s degree in economics, has been writing songs for about five years. A woman was his original inspiration.
“I wanted to write a love song about a girl from Texas. It was one of those ideas about love and everything,” Morgan said. “I finally showed people and once I got positive feedback, everything just kinda blew up from there.”
Morgan played at the event Sunday to promote the band’s new album Reflections in the Water and to bring awareness to the band’s next show, which will kick off the Florida Music Festival today at The Social.
Dan Leaphart from the corporate group that promoted the festival, Cox Events Orlando, said that besides the entertainment, the event is important because the proceeds are put toward things that improve Orlando. Previous event proceeds purchases include renovations, police dogs and even a police horse for Orlando and Lake Eola Park.
“It’s like the original farmer’s market,” Leaphart said. “Crafts, trinkets, original art — you can find anything.”
For more information on upcoming events at Lake Eola Park visit: Orlando's Fiesta in the Park.
For more information about Jonnie Morgan and his band, or to purchase their new album visit: Jonnie Morgan Band.