Ten thousand people flocked to the fall festivities in the Claremont Village on Saturday for the 41st annual Village Venture Arts and Crafts Festival.
Little Barbies, Storm Troopers and Wednesday Adams ran around Bonita and Yale avenues with their trick-or-treat baskets.
Four hundred booths and vendors blocked off neighboring streets for the fall festival.
The El Roble marching band kicked off the event with the parade followed by children and dogs in their Halloween costumes. Musicians with violins, guitars and more played on street corners.
The variety of booths included small businesses with unique art, crafts, clothing and jewelry. Larger businesses and corporations like the Ontario Airport also drew a crowd for a chance to win free tickets. The Keck Graduate Institute’s booth offered free flu shots.
“The festival is about bringing the community together, and it is also our largest fundraiser of the year,” said Stacey Caponigro, chairwoman of the Claremont Chamber of Commerce’s executive board of directors.
This year’s event marked a 25% increase in attendance over last year, with people traveling from the high desert and the San Diego area, Caponigro said.
All stores in the area remained open as well. Caponigro said they gained business during such a crowded event, especially restaurants.
Nobibi, an ice cream and tea shop on Indian Hill Boulevard, used the event for their grand opening.
“We have 14 food trucks for the event,” Caponigro said. “But they tend to have long lines, so then they go to the restaurants in the village.”
Artist and first-time vendor Allison Krumwiede signed up for the event in February, with her art business So Many Shapes. Krumwiede’s collections focus on funerary art, a celebration of the deceased. Previously Krumwiede worked in the film industry but due to the strikes was able to reconnect with her first passion of art. Having grown up in the area, she knew how popular the event was and how great it would be to attend showcasing her art. At the booth, she was selling art in the form of prints, tote bags, shirts, candles and a tarot card vending machine that was popular amongst the attendees, gaining lots of attention.
“I knew 1,000% that I wanted to attend the festival,” Krumwiede said.
Walking the open streets, and turning the corner expecting to have to turn around, tricked attendees as the rows of booths kept extending
Crowds swarmed booths that had animals like the non-profit Pomona Valley Audubon Society, which showcased owls and hawks, and sought donations.
Carrie Rodgers of the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, said that this is one of their biggest events for finding volunteers and raising money, which is why they have attended the Village Venture for the past eight years.
“If we even get three to four hundred it is worth it, anything helps, that’s a vet bill,” co-volunteer Lori Sullivan said.
Claremont resident Isaac Martinez attended the fair for the first time after hearing so many great things.
“Growing up here and working in the Village for years, it is nice to see so many familiar faces and find new shops,” Martinez said.
Sheridan Lambrook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.