By Mary O’KEEFE
This weekend shoppers and artists will meet on common ground along Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park as they have for the last 27 years. The Annual Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival is well known to artists throughout several western states as the place to show and sell their art and a buying destination for shoppers.
The Montrose Shopping Park Association sponsors the event.
“It is the third oldest arts and crafts festival in the state and the third largest,” said Glendale City Councilmember and long time Montrose Shopping Park member John Drayman. “It is the largest public event in Glendale.”
The event will host over 450 arts and crafts vendors from all over California and five western states including Oregon and Washington.
“It is sort of an annual pilgrimage for many of the artists,” Drayman added.
One of the reasons the festival has become so popular is the quality and caliber of
the artist. It is not enough to say they are a painter or sculptor; the artist must apply and send a sample of their work to the Festival committee. They are then chosen through a jury process that looks at the work and makes certain it meets their criteria.
It must be hand made; there are no wholesale products allowed, Drayman said.
The jury knows the festival and what those 40,000 to 60,000 shoppers traveling to Montrose will expect. And once the vendors arrive the festival committee, including Dee Overton, spends time looking at the art and making certain what the artist originally represented is what is being sold.
“There will be everything from fine art to paintings in oil and water color to photography, sculpture, pottery and ceramics,” Drayman said.
There are also unique works that include metal work and mosaics.
“It really goes across the board,” he added.
Artists travel from all over to be a vendor at the festival as shoppers travel from all over California to attend. All that shopping and art loving can build up an appetite. The Montrose Shopping Park Association has thought of that as well.
There will be an International Food Court with about 20 vendors offering a variety food from Thailand cuisine and Hawaiian grilled chicken to American barbeque and spicy Cajun dishes.
As visitors sit back, review their found treasures and relax with their favorite meal, music will fill the background. Gremoli New Orleans Jazz will be at the festival as will the Martini Kings.
“And this year we are adding a third group, Safari Jazz. It is a three-person bebop group,” Drayman said.
Sarkis Turgutyan, a classical guitarist and Carol Tatum, a harpist, will add their musical talents to the weekend.
“[Another] reason this festival is so popular is because the vendors love our locals. They love the town and the beauty of it. It is not like going to a fair that is held in a parking lot. This is in a beautiful setting,” Drayman said.
Twenty-seven years ago Lindsey Ostrem, former owner of the Paper Rabbit, had an idea to bring an art festival to Montrose.
“The event started out small but has grown every year,” Drayman added.
Ostrem not only wanted to bring an arts and crafts festival to Montrose but also wanted to highlight the wonderful shops.
“The whole idea is to feature the town with its 200 stores, cafés and bakeries,” Drayman said.
This is the largest fundraiser for the Montrose Shopping Park. When locals and visitors support the Arts and Crafts Festival the shopping park gains financial support. Through that they can continue to host all the events throughout the year like the Montrose Christmas Parade and Sunday Harvest Market.
Already the volunteers are beginning to number the booth stalls and prepare for the festival.
“On Friday you will see the RVs and trucks pull into town. Our volunteer crews begin setting everything up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and won’t quit until 8 p.m. Sunday night. Everybody in town volunteers. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if you went to Montrose [Wednesday] night and found Dale Dawson (president of the MSPA) down on his hands and knees marking those booths stalls,” Drayman joked. “And on Saturday morning you will find me there setting up the port-a-potties.”
On Saturday the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday it is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Harvest Market will be on Sunday as usual.