Arturo Gomez Molina
The 45th Annual Harvest Festival returned to the Fairplex in Pomona with more than 200 unique artists and vendors Saturday.
Before doors opened at 10 a.m., a line stretched from the entrance of Expo Hall 4 into the parking lot.
“It’s our first time here and today is my son’s birthday, so we thought it was a great time to get together and share some good times and laughs,” La Verne resident Rubette Tarin said.
Tarin was with her childhood friend of more than 40 years, Irma Escobar, who was celebrating the life of her son who died when he was 24. Coincidentally, Escobar also lost a son five years after Tarin. He was 17.
“We are not here to feel sad or cry, but to have a good time and support each other,” Escobar said.
“We love the environment here. Everyone is in a great mood, everyone is shopping and we’re going to see what we can find to take home.”
The festival had an array of vendors spread out through the expo hall floor. Nearly every booth offered homemade products.
One in particular appealed to the feline loving community.
“Cat people are very different from dog people, we look at personality,” designer and owner of Big Cat Designs, Laura Berry, said.
Berry offered mugs, shirts, bags, paintings, postcards and much more designed with pictures or drawings of cats.
“This is my 10th year at the festival,” Berry said. “It really makes me happy to see people connect with my work with their own cats.”
Berry said her most popular item is a mug with a cartoon cat staring at its litter box, reading, “Someone keeps stealing my poop.”
Aside from the homemade crafts, crowds gathered around the booths with specialty foods that could not be found elsewhere.
One booth traveled from Show Low, Arizona, to bring its homemade fudge to festival goers.
“Each flavor of fudge takes a couple hours to make and we make them in 80 pound batches,” Mr. Fudge owner Mark Smith said.
“We originally heard about this festival from a friend in Arizona and we’re glad to be back for our sixth year to serve up some more fudge.”
Smith said the most popular of their 21 flavors is called “Supreme.”
The “Supreme” fudge could best be described as savory and not too sweet. It melted at the touch of the tongue and had a blend of chocolates.
Smith also said they hit nearly 30 festivals within a year, spanning from New Mexico to Washington state.
Twenty of the booths found on the expo floor were dedicated to selling only Christmas themed items.
One booth was filled with items completely painted by hand.
“I like to offer my artistic interpretation of Disney classics for people to enjoy during the holidays,” artist Terri Sopp Rae said. “I begin to paint things for the holidays in January. It takes a long time to make enough for everyone to enjoy.”
Rae’s booth was consistently filled with people looking at her art, Christmas decorations and clothing. Rae and her husband equipped their booth with a single-person fitting room to make sure each customer was happy with the fit of the shirt or sweater they bought.
The Harvest Festival ended Sunday and will return to the Fairplex for the holidays next year.
Arturo Gomez Molina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.