Olustee Festival organizers look to change event location

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LAKE CITY, Fla. (WCJB)-- The Olustee Festival in Lake City is attended by thousands each year but next year patrons may see a major change. Event organizers have their sights set on a new location for the event.

For years the event has been held at Olustee Park but organizers are hoping to switch to Lake City's new Wilson Park once construction is complete.

Project manager of the Wilson Park Improvement Project, Thomas Henry said if the festival is moved, there will be more space to celebrate.

"We're going to be able to put 110 craft vendors around the walking trail that you see these guys working at now, we'll be able to hold 40 food vendors in the parking lot area with all of the power in the world for all of them,” Henry said.

But some business owners aren't too happy about the change.

At the current location, festival-goers would walk past many local businesses on their way to the festival, but in the new location, the festival would be a few blocks behind these businesses.

Fred Lammers owns one of these shops on this route. He said his income is more than doubled on festival days, and he's worried this change will hurt his business.

"It's a great idea back there, put the events back there but not Olustee because it does so much for our business downtown,” Lammers said.

Lammers also created a petition and sent it to the Lake City city council to try and change this location switch.

The Olustee battle re-enactment will still be held in its historic location, only the festival has the potential to move.

Organizers are certain the city council will approve the location permit to hold the festival at Wilson Park, but if the request is denied, the event will likely stay at Olustee Park.

Construction of Wilson Park is expected to be completed by June.