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Downtown hosts
Harvest Festival

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Downtown hosts
Harvest Festival
Posted October 21, 2005
Emmah Obradovich
Every year the city of La Verne hosts the Old Town Harvest Festival, closing D and Third streets to automobile traffic to accommodate pedestrian visitors who flooded the streets on Saturday. Among the attractions for children was a petting zoo, where Amanda Akpom and her brother M.B. Akpom enjoyed playing with guinea pigs.

The sound of live music and the smell of barbecue filled the air as a steady flow of foot traffic, along with the occasional infant stroller, stopped to admire the wide array of merchandise displayed in the back-to-back vendor booths which aligned the street.

This was no ordinary day in La Verne, but the annual Old Town Harvest Festival and Craft Fair, an all-day event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 15.

Situated in a row of white and blue tents, each vendor booth offered a unique specialty and style.

Handmade jewelry vendor Mandy Waller is no stranger to street fairs.

“I do a street fair in Covina every Friday,” Waller said. “And this is my fourth year at the Harvest Festival. This morning it was pretty busy in the a.m. hours, but it’s starting to slow down a little.”

Walking from booth to booth, one can find anything from toiletries and candles to remote-control cars and trinkets.

“Far East Finds,” for example, offered Asian and Indian-inspired clothing, such as dresses and skirts in rich colors with detailed embroidery.

Strands of orange, turquoise and purple beaded necklaces with large medallions were also displayed on a table and wall of the booth.

“Ocean Beach Surf Shack” featured Southern California, beach décor and attire, with baby blankets, bassinets and throw pillows in soft, muted colors.

“Pillow Talk by Yolanda” offered custom-made throw pillows in which personalized photographs or prints could be screened on the customer’s choice of fabric.

“I do the Monrovia Festival and other events, but I didn’t really know what to expect for La Verne” said Robin Hairston, a vendor at “Indigenous Creators”, which featured a variety of shea butter creams, as well as bohemian peasant skirts and tunics. “(Today) has been good so far.
People are trickling in slowly but surely.”

Children gathered around the corner of D and Third streets where a redheaded clown in blue overalls, pink and green striped socks and red and blue high top boots sprayed temporary stenciled tattoos.

Behind the clown and the sea of screaming children were the scarecrow contest entries, showcased around the Mainiero Square fountain.

Each of the life-size entries was numbered, and the public was able to vote for their favorite scarecrow, which ranged from traditional to over-the-top.

The life-size “California Scaring” entry was dressed in a black, full body wetsuit with a beach-inspired straw hat, long “blonde” hair made of straw, surfboard, towel and seashells.

The “World Champion Scare” was not only festive for Halloween, but for the current World Series, dressed in an Angels jersey with a baseball glove.

The “Wild Earth Wahini” entry reflected the clientele at the local La Verne day spa, wearing a tropical print robe, a “Wild Earth” T-shirt, fuzzy white slippers, green clay mask and a white terry cloth wrap on its head.

Near the La Verne Police Station on Third Street, a tem?porary bandstand was set up where live music and jazz standards played throughout the day.

Temporary patio table and chair sets were placed in the street so patrons could watch the live bands while eating barbecue, provided by Jake’s Roadhouse in Monrovia, or other festival favorites, such as popcorn and funnel cake.

The brightly-colored inflatable jumper and slide proved to be a success with children, as well as the animal display.

In one tent, children had the opportunity to interact and feed various farm animals, such as ducks, goats and hens.

Family members and other spectators cheered on children as they bravely rode small horses in the pony ride tent.

“This is our second year coming here,” Claremont-resident Pamela Neighbors said. “The kids love the animals and the jumper.”

Business marketing major Lauren Zagurski stopped by the festivities after watching the Homecoming game.

“I knew about (the Harvest Festival) because of the banners up around La Verne,” Zagurski said. “So far, I really like it. It’s cool how everyone is just walking around. It’s a really mellow, low key atmosphere.”

Tracy Spicer can be reached at
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