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Festival offers the goods

Honolulu Avenue becomes a showcase for unique wares.

June 07, 2010|By Max Zimbert

There was no 27-year itch for the Montrose Arts & Crafts festival Saturday and Sunday.

The event, now 27 years old, was bigger than ever, vendors said, as booths of artisan goods lined the half-mile of Honolulu Avenue between Verdugo Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue.

"I don't remember it going as far down," said Tom Harris, who lives nearby. "I always manage to pick up something for Christmas."


This year, it was iconic dish towels with funny sayings.

"They are one-of-a-kind," he said. "You won't see it at Ross or Marshall's marked down."

Nevermind discount retailers, Harris said prices were lower than he anticipated.

But merchant Thomas Mayberry had a pricing issue of his own, he said, when a customer mistakenly assumed his photos were 35 cents, when they were actually $35.

"I thought I'd lowered my prices enough, but I guess not," he said.

Mayberry, who lives in Morro Bay, was among the more than 425 artists and craftsmen at the festival. His photographs were so stunning, Burbank resident Corky Davis said, that they'll be the first pieces of art she hangs in her new home.

"They are so peaceful and serene," she said of the photograph-to-canvas works.

Atwater Village residents Dana Merwin and Colin Fickes described the festival as a throwback, they said.

"I'm from the South, and this reminds me of home," Merwin said. "You'll see birdhouses made of license plates here. My mom took me to a lot of places like this as a kid where you'd see those."

There were a dozen variations of birdhouses and wind chimes.

"You don't see that in Atwater," Fickes said. "This is all mom-and-pop stores."

Pottery, clothes, photos, sculpture, woodcraft, jewelry, music albums and music collectibles were on display. The festivals are the lifeblood for Orange County-based Gambetta Beads, which made its first appearance in Montrose on Saturday, co-owner Liana Borup said.

"We have friends who've sold up here and said we'd do well," she said. "This is probably one of the bigger ones. There's a really good, big crowd."

Twelve-year-old La Crescenta resident Rachel Ward bought a necklace, having come to the festival with family members and neighbors.

"My mom planned it so we could spend time with friends," she said.

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