SEMINOLE – An outdoor music festival to raise money for the care of livestock is planned this weekend at Seminole Vocational Education Center.
The school’s inaugural Jazz Blast will rock the grounds of SVEC on Saturday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The lineup includes the Voices of Jazz, a local 21-piece swing band, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the Clearwater Jazz Quartet, under the direction of former Boca Ciega band director Frank Williams, 2 to 3 p.m.; and students from Largo High School, under the direction of band director Chris Benoit, performing from 3:30 to 4 p.m.
Admission is free but the school hopes to make a few dollars off the sale of concessions and hayrides that will be available.
Proceeds will go toward the feeding and care of SVEC’s large stable of animals.
“Animals are not cheap,” said SVEC principal Barbara Clare, “especially when you have big animals.”
The school currently has five heifers, three horses, about two dozen rabbits, two sugar gliders, three goats, two pot-bellied pigs, about a dozen birds and some hens.
Clare said it costs between $20,000 and $24,000 to feed and care for the animals. Most of that is covered by Pinellas County Schools but there are other unplanned expenses that the budget doesn’t cover. One came two weeks ago when SVEC had to spend about $1,500 to put a horse down.
Clare’s long-term goal goes past that type of expense.
“I want to grow our vet tech program and acquire more animals,” she said. “To do that, we need to have an ongoing fund to take care of the costs. I envision this to be a community event in Seminole, year after year.”
Clare said she would like to add more horses and cattle for the vet program, which currently involves about 150 of the school’s 360 students.
SVEC is one of three vocational education centers in the county. Students from Largo, Osceola and Seminole high schools attend classes there, in addition to their regular classes at their mainstream schools.
SVEC is located at 12611 86th Ave. For further information, call 545-6405.