Vendor Faire sells handmade crafts at Heritage Park

Tori Strobel, Glendora resident, checks out the wood engraved creations at Mama’s Workshop, owned by Sharon Chung, on Saturday morning at the La Verne Heritage Park Vendor Faire. Cutting boards, wood cars and engraved pictures of pets were a few of the many wood crafts offered there. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk
Tori Strobel, Glendora resident, checks out the wood engraved creations at Mama’s Workshop, owned by Sharon Chung, on Saturday morning at the La Verne Heritage Park Vendor Faire. Cutting boards, wood cars and engraved pictures of pets were a few of the many wood crafts offered there. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Taylor Moore

Small businesses gathered at the fourth annual Heritage Orange Blossom Vendor Faire to show off home-based and handmade items to the La Verne community Saturday at Heritage Park. The event featured 30 vendors for guests to browse and shop from. 

Lonnie Scutella, owner of Lonnie Scutella Jewelry, started her business 25 years ago after retiring from the education department at University of La Verne. Scutella and her husband took trips to Pennsylvania every summer after retiring to stay in his family’s cottage. It was there she learned to make jewelry, inspired by the antique stores in Pennsylvania to make her own, one-of-a-kind pieces out of vintage watches and brooches. 

Scutella added her own flare on the antique pieces, sometimes adding more glamor with the addition of more rhinestones or diamonds, other times by taking what was originally meant to be a brooch and turning into a necklace. 

 Her favorite piece was a large diamond brooch from the 1950’s that her aunt gifted to her. She turned into a necklace, adding labradorite stones along the sterling silver chain and a toggle clasp. 

“I didn’t take the backing (of the brooch) off because I didn’t want to destroy its integrity,” she said. “Every rhinestone there is absolutely perfect. I just think it’s spectacular.” 

Gabriella Winterburn,a home baker, sold her home-made sourdough bread. While still brainstorming a name for her business, her vendor booth “Gabriella’s Bakery” was such a success that she sold out by 1:30 p.m. 

She started her business in July and has been taking weekly orders since. Her inspiration came during a vacation to Alaska, where she met another baker who would make different rolls of bread everyday at dinner, sometimes more sweet, other times with added flare like her cheese and jalapeño roll. That baker gifted Winterburn some starter recipes, which she tried out when she got home and has not been able to stop since. 

Arlene Valdez, owner of Blue Skies Handcrafted Jewelry, sells her handcrafted clay jewelry to Nicole O’Neal, La Verne resident, on Saturday at the La Verne Heritage Park Vendor Faire. The shop sold a variety of studs or hanging clay earrings all crafted by Valdez. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

“There’s so many benefits to homemade sourdough bread,” she said. “The way homemade sourdough bread is made, the yeast allows your digestive system to break it down easier than it would store-bought bread. Store-bought yeast looks almost like playdough, it’s really rough, and imagine that being in your system. Homemade bread is crumbly, almost like brown sugar, and it’s just better for your digestive system. It’s so much healthier.” 

Sharon Chung, owner of Mama’s Workshop, was selling wood carved kids’ toys, cheese boards and custom art pieces. 

Her favorite piece that she made was the Resurrection Mountains, in honor of Easter. Behind the mountains is a wooden cross to represent the mountains serving as the tomb of Jesus. Chung designed the rock door, engraved with “He is risen” on it, to slide to the side, the same way his Jesus’ tomb was found during his resurrection on Easter Sunday. 

“I love making things with my hands, turning raw wood into something,” Chung said. “My dad taught me everything I know, so it makes me feel close to him.” 

Alan Ladner, Chung’s father, said wood carving runs in their family, starting with his grandfather who built half of their hometown in Easton, Maine. 

Chris Neely, owner and operator of Neely’s Pepper Jelly, gave out free samples of his original, jalapeño, jalapeño cranberry and hot flavors to try with a cracker. 

“It started when I had too many peppers one year, so I looked up recipes to figure out what to do with them and I came across (pepper jelly),” Neely said. 

Neely said he added more flavors over the eight years he has been running his business, such as pineapple and pomegranate, with blueberry coming soon. The first two years, he sold his pepper jelly to his family and friends, but it got so popular that he was able to start selling at farmers markets and vendor fairs. 

P. Luna Creations, a small handmade craft business out of Norwalk, sells crocheted bunnies, eggs and Peeps just in time for Easter at the La Verne Heritage Park Vendor Faire. Roughly 30 other small businesses joined, selling items like baked goods and jalapeño jelly to handmade jewelry and hair accessories. / photo by Sarah Van Buskirk

Paulina Luna, owner of P. Luna Creations, was selling amigurumi, originally a Japanese art of crocheting or knitting small creatures. Her creations varied from small octopus keychains to cows. She was also selling bees, peeps, rabbits and patterned eggs for Easter, as well as scrunchies that she sewed. 

“My mother taught me to crochet as a little girl,” Luna said. “I’ve always loved crocheting blankets. Then watching Youtube, I saw a pattern for making peeps. I said, ‘I can do that.’” 

Nicole O’Neal, a La Verne resident, bought a safety alarm from Safe Alone, which sells self defense products. She likes to walk her dog alone and said one can never be too careful. 

“I find living in La Verne, there’s some connection to the vendors and people here, so it’s nice to come support your neighbors and people that live (here),” O’Neal said. 

Maria Ramos and Yolanda Wentworth co-own Safe Alone. Both are retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. 

“I was on the job for 35 years,” Wentworth said. “I’ve always loved educating and protecting the public. So once I retired, I partnered with my best friend, (Ramos), and we got into business so we can still help and protect our community.” 

La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn said the day’s turnout was amazing to see. 

“I think it’s amazing, anytime our community can put things together like this for our residents and people outside the community,” Hepburn said. “I’m just tickled to death to have this.” 

Taylor Moore can be reached at

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

Sarah Van Buskirk is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. She is the Spring 2024 editorial director for the Campus Times and has recently served as editor-in-chief, sports editor and staff writer. She is also currently a staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine, and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine.

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