Festival features fascinating work

Posted Dec. 8, 2006

Maria Villalpando

Whittling away at a block of wood, Susan Lake carves out the beginning features of a Santa Claus. Lake has been carving for 18 years and selling her work at craft shows for the past six years. The Harvest Festival at the Fairplex in Pomona featured more than 300 artisans.


One-of-a-kind art to play, display, watch and munch was featured at the Harvest Festival at the Fairplex in Pomona last weekend.

It wasn’t unusual for food and beverage exhibitors to stop festival-goers in their tracks due to the delicious samples offered, but one exhibit stopped people simply because of the title of its booth: “Paper that Grows Flowers.”

“We have been selling this product for the last fours years,” said Katie Michael, an employee of Bloom.

“The inventor, Denise Stevens, started making paper and put natural things in paper and came up with putting seeds in the paper so they can grow,” Michael said.

Wild flower seeds are embedded in the handmade paper.

When placed on a bed of soil and water, an assortment of wild flowers begin to sprout in two and a half weeks.

The colorful stationary is to write someone a note and the recipient can plant the paper.

The smell of potpourri, gourmet foods and pine filled the air of the Harvest Festival as people walked rows and rows experiencing what about 300 exhibitors had to offer.

Twenty-thousand people walked through the doors of the Harvest Festival this weekend and the event required lots of preparation, said Frances Larose, spokeswoman for the Harvest Festival.

“Each of the exhibitors has to provide a photo of the product and how they make it,” Larose said.

“They have to prove authenticity; that the product is actually handmade,” she added.

There were numerous amounts of food exhibits, but one of them stood out from all the rest because of its Asian-themed booth.

The oriental dressing sold at the booth was influenced by the theme.

Sam Capizzi and Linda Capizzi, the minds behind the gourmet oriental dressing, are the owners of the company “In Good Taste.”

The booth displayed two plaques: “Best Show Award” in 1998 and “Best Booth Award” this year.

Sam Capizzi wore an Asian robe and military hat as he offered festival-goers tasty salad shooters that were topped with oriental dressing.

“We have been self-employed for over 30 years,” Sam Capizzi said.

“I had kidney failure and if something was to happen to me, we needed something that my wife can sell by herself. So we pulled out the recipe and started selling,” Capizzi said.

“The Harvest Festival is designed where college students can come and get affordable, one-of-a-kind gifts,” Larose said.

“The things are nice and we want to show products that you can make personalized and you won’t see them anywhere else,” she added.

It was impossible to have a boring moment at the festival.

Guests who wanted to take a break from walking around were able to sit in front of a stage to experience the art of song, dance or magic.

The band “Sister Swing” sang Christmas jingles while wearing clothing from the 1950s.

A group of tap dancers received a standing ovation for the wonderful beats they made with their feet, and a magician called up volunteers for assistance with several tricks.

“We hand pick our entertainers for the festival,” Larose said. “Schools that have a music or art exhibit can try out and also be a part.”

Every row featured at least one food vendor that sold a sauce or a dip.

These booths were crowded as people grabbed pretzels to taste the dips on every palette.

“I had a knee replacement and now I am able to walk,” said Frances Soto, a Los Angeles resident.

“So, I said now I am going to the festival. I like arts and crafts and I like to make them so, this is an interesting experience,” he added.

The Harvest Festival will be at Seaside Park in Ventura this weekend.

For more information visit www.harvestfestival.com.

For more information about “Bloom” or “In Good Taste” visit their Web sites at www.orientaldressing.com and www.plantablepaper.com.

Telon Weathington can be reached at tweathington@ulv.edu.

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