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Festival raises funds
for Pilgrim's Place
Posted Nov. 14, 2007

Claremont’s Pilgrim Place was full of excitement as family and friends gathered to participate in the 59th annual Pilgrim Festival Nov. 9 and 10.

The annual festival offers a wide range of activities and vendors to satisfy all palettes. The funds raised through this event benefit Pilgrim Place residents who cannot afford daily expenses.

Pilgrim Place residents, who are retired religious leaders, ran the booths and dressed in their pilgrim best to greet visitors.

“I like how they have a combination of vintage stuff, crafts, food and fun activities too,” said Laura Gonzalez, an Ontario resident and 2001 University of La Verne alumnae.

The two-day event had more than 50 areas to venture through from music performances to handmade crafts to activities for the whole family.

Upon entering the main gate, visitors were bombarded with vendors proudly displaying their works. One of the first booths was of artwork made by the residents throughout the year. A particular highlight on display in the art booth was a collection of artwork by Henry Hayden. Hayden has been involved with Pilgrim Place for 18 years.

Many of the booths present at this year’s festival have been staples of the event for years. For some of the booths, however, this would be their last festival. The traditional firewood booth, for example, had a going-out-of-business sign attached to the last bundle. Still there were also new favorites that arose, particularly the fabrications booth.

The fabrications booth offered a variety of crafts like dolls, bears, quilts and other decorative items all made with fabric.

“Some of us like to sew,” Judy Manley and Donna Klein, co-chairwomen of the booth said. “Everything has been handmade, produced since March.”

Many of the booths offered handmade crafts, mostly made by the pilgrim residents.

Although the actual festival is only a two-day event, it is actually a year-round activity for the residents. It takes months of planning and creating the crafts to make the festival a success.

“It’s fun for them, keeps them active and they get the money that they need,” Gonzalez said. 

Of the many booths containing handmade works, from preserves and baked goods to wooden toys and stained glass ornaments, there was an equal amount of other booths and activities to search through.

Some of the booths contained practical things like electrical appliances, furniture, kitchenware, plants and produce, while others offered collectables and luxuries.

A particular crowd favorite was the fine jewelry collection, where potentially expensive pieces could be found. The line to get into the enclosed jewelry area was long most of the time.

A haven for serious collectors were the stamp and coin booths. Both booths had a wide selection sure to capture the attention of the curious visitors.

“We have a good collection this year… hope that will bring up sales,” said Caitlyn Francis, chairwoman of the coins booth.

The coin booth had constant visitors both on its foreign currency side and on its U.S. early coins side. The foreign side had coins ranging in diversity from Croatia and Germany to Japan and Central America. Some foreign coins, like France was dated back to the 1800’s.

The Egyptian coins were particularly popular with the children, Francis said.

The early U.S. coins also featured treasures like Indian head pennies, early $2 bills, silver dollars and quarter collections.

“I want to look at what they have here before they are all gone,” said Jerry Roberts, a Claremont resident and serious collector.

Aside from the vending booths, the festival catered to children with music, drama, face painting, free balloons and rides on the “Mayflower-on-Wheels” and “Massasoit Superchief.”

Andres Rivera can be reached at arivera3@ulv.edu.