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Harvest Festival shines despite rain
Posted Oct. 16, 2006

With the threat of rain looming over Old Town La Verne Saturday, the annual Old Town Harvest Festival did not receive its normal foot traffic.

Nevertheless, the usual vendors who participate in La Verne’s summer street fair remained dedicated as they lugged out all of their assorted merchandise and began set up on D Street at around 10 a.m., while University of La Verne Homecoming festivities took place on Third Street.

Blue and white pop-up tents lined the street, the scent of kettle corn and Barbecue wafted through the air and the live band did last minute sound checks.

Vendors waited patiently in their coats and scarves as potential customers made their way out to browse the various booths. At 11 a.m. when the live band began to play, stragglers from the Homecoming game and a few dedicated shoppers with umbrellas began to fill the street.

Despite the slow day, Sherry Howey, co-owner of Faerie Dream Products, was in good spirits. With her partner Mary Laughlin by her side, Howey stood with a smile on her face and both offered a resounding “hello” to everyone walking by.

“If you can’t have fun doing what you’re doing, then there is no sense in dong it,” Howey said.

Howey’s favorite part of the street fair is interacting with all of the people on a personal level. Jewelry designer Helen Crisp shared Howey’s feelings.           

“I love doing this,” Crisp said. “The music and the people are so nice, and the people even come out in the rain. Now that’s dedication.”

The only thing about the festival that didn’t sit well with Crisp was the weather. Crisp along with several other vendors had to make adjustments to their merchandise displays to avoid possible rain damage. Crisp generally hangs colored fabric around her E-Z up to attract attention, but she had to take down her decorations due to the slight breeze and the inconsistent drizzle.

One tent that did not seem phased by the weather, however, was the petting zoo. With at least 10 children in the small fenced area and even more parents keeping a close watch from outside, the kids and animals were certainly kept occupied.

After a long stay in the petting zoo, several children made their way over to the bounce house located only a few yards away. The children’s area of the festival seemed to have the most activity throughout the day.

Thanks to the bad weather and Homecoming, Old Town hot spots T. Phillips and Warehouse Pizza were hotbeds of activity. Customers from the two restaurants gave the booths on the north side of the festival their most business.

It may have been a slow business day for most of the festival’s vendors but you can expect to see a large majority of them next year when the fair begins again in the summer.

And some fared quite well bad weather and all on the festival’s closing weekend. University of La Verne student Ben Paine, a junior sociology major, went to stock up on kettle corn.

“I’m sad to see it go,” Paine said, “It reminds me of home. Back in Redlands, we had a market night similar to this. So this was like my home away from home.”

Jillian Pena can be reached at jpena2@ulv.edu.