Thousands Turn Out for Annual Festival


Last weekend was the Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival that saw almost 40,000 guests walk along Honolulu Avenue enjoying, and purchasing, unique items from vendors who came from far and wide to participate.

“Extremely positive,” was how the crowd, and vendor, feedback was described by Dale Dawson, event coordinator for Montrose Shopping Park Association, which sponsors the event. “Vendors generally did very, very well.”

He added the vendors were very complimentary to the Arts and Crafts crew for “such a smoothly run event.”

One of the vendors was David Abernethy of Grain In Focus. He has been coming to the Festival “every year” and had a variety of note cards and folk instruments for sale. Among these were drums he calls Steel Tongue Drums.

Made from never-been-used propane tanks, Abernethy cuts different sized slots (“tongues”) into the top of the propane tanks, which then issue different notes when struck with small drumsticks. He includes drumsticks with each drum he sells.

David Abernethy of Grain In Focus (left) talks about his steel tongue drums with a young man.

At the Arts & Crafts Festival he set up several of the colorful drums so people could try them. Melodic music filled the air near his booth as shoppers gently struck the drums.

Abernethy does not have a website, only an email address ( and his cellphone number (323) 559-5900. Interested parties can email or call him to see what instruments he has available. He can also send photos.

All of the vendors emailed Dawson asking to return to the event, which is held the first weekend of June, next year. The Irish band The Ploughboys and the Beatles tribute band, Ticket to Ride, have already been booked to entertain next year.

The music of the Celtic group The Ploughboys got people off their feet to dance.

Photos by Steve GOLDSWORTHY and Bob PRAUN