VERO BEACH — For the first time in many years, there was an actual autumnal feel to last weekend’s 27th annual Autumn in the Park Crafts and Artworks show, hosted by the Treasure Coast Pilot Club.
Originally scheduled to take place the first weekend in October, organizers were forced to postpone the event after weeks of torrential rains turned Riverside Park into Riverside Lake.
“We made it work,” said Barbara Peltier, who coordinates the juried selection of vendors. All works must be hand-crafted by artisans. The show was smaller this year as many of the originally scheduled vendors had already committed to shows elsewhere.
“This is really the first big weekend for shows,” she explained. “We picked up about 15 new ones; a lot of local people. And we have beautiful weather. It worked out well. Actually, we’re thinking about changing the date.”
“We are looking at moving it to the last weekend of October if the park is available,” said Tammy Vock, another longtime Pilot Club member. “We’re loving it; the parking lot is full and we’re seeing a lot of packages going out. It’s kind of fun to see the people bundled up. We also included selling coffee this year.”
A steady stream of visitors perused the selections all through the weekend, attracted by beautiful but blustery weather and the chance to get a jump on some holiday shopping.
There was an assortment of items to suit every taste and wallet, including lots of jewelry, hand-painted silk scarves and wraps, intricately carved wooden items, wind chimes made from a variety of objects, fine art and shell art, artisan soaps, ceramics and basketry, etched and painted glassworks, handmade clothing and purses, decorative crafts and recycled art, and even honey, crafted by local bees.
A children’s area sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Association, was kept the little ones busy with their very own arts and craft activities. A variety of food courts in the center of the park and a shaded area to sit and eat, gave shoppers a welcomed respite before they headed back out in search of that perfect something.
The Treasure Coast Pilot Club was founded about 1979 by working women as an offshoot of the Pilot Club of Indian River County Vero Beach, fondly referred to as the ‘mother’ club. That club eventually disbanded and was subsequently absorbed into the Treasure Coast Pilot Club.
Autumn in the Park is their main fundraiser, with proceeds benefitting a variety of civic projects, charities and scholarships. The Club was instrumental in setting up and have continued to fund Project Lifesaver in Indian River County, a program used to track and locate lost individuals.
Administered by the Alzheimer and Parkinson Association of Indian River County, individuals at risk of wandering, such as those with Alzheimer’s, autism and other brain-related disorders, are given a bracelet with a radio transmitter which can be used by law enforcement to track them if the need arises.