Sunnyvale’s 45th Art, Wine and Music Festival — always the first weekend in June — kicked off the summer under sunny skies and perfect mid-70s weather. Based on beverage and vendor sales and eyeballing the crowd, it was one of the very best-attended festivals ever.
The Sunnyvale Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce produces the annual festival, which is its primary fundraiser. President and CEO Don Eagleston threw out 50,000 as a ballpark attendance number. He credits the weather and extensive advertising with drawing such a crowd.
Several thousand people at any given time meandered down the corridors of booths that lined seven downtown city blocks. Tree-lined Murphy Avenue, popular year round for its more than 30 restaurants and sidewalk dining reminiscent of Europe, was the most picturesque.
The festival lineup totaled about 350 craftspeople and vendors, businesses, and food and drink (mimosas and margaritas as well as wine and beer) stops. Rock cover bands — Bon Jovi, the Beetles, and Eagles, for example — created day-long dance music.
Every craftsperson had a story. The tinkling of Gari’s Windchimes caught the ear even before it caught the eye of Charles Ingebretsen and his three-year-old daughter, Athena. They traveled to the festival by train from San Jose.
“We look for things going on in the Bay Area that we can get to using public transportation,” said Ingebretsen, a fine arts painter who wants to expose his daughter to art at a young age.
Jack Gari, who came to the U.S. from Turkey in 1969, started the wind chime business with his late father. His dad made stained glass windows before retiring.
“One day I said to my dad, ‘How about you and I make wind chimes?'” said Gari, who lives in Lancaster, CA. That was 27 years ago. Now, Gari has 18 people making charming metal wind chimes — from angels and crosses to unicorns and cats — and wind toys.
“They’re beautiful and all different and the price is cheap,” said Gari. Contact him at (661) 361-2108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I can’t help myself,” said one of Gari’s customers to a friend as she paid for her irresistible wind chimes.
You couldn’t miss Greg Price as you walked by his Steamy Gears booth. He was sitting on a high chair wearing a tall top hat decorated with metal gears. He looked like a steampunk Mad Hatter.
Price and his wife, Lora, sell already-assembled wooden, geared items, and kits so kids and adults can build their own. They were inspired to create their novel business after attending a steampunk convention in 2012. Visit www.steamytech.com to view their fascinating geared creations.
It was the first time for the self-proclaimed Bird Nerd, Michael Lopes from Ben Lomond, to participate in a large festival. He specializes in striking hummingbird photos. Perhaps 50 of his images were transferred onto the fabric of his white tights (not for sale).
Lopes started feeding hummingbirds two years ago when his dogs passed away.
“I didn’t want to get another dog because I was traveling, so I started taking pictures of hummingbirds,” said Lopes. “It led to more expensive cameras and a better quality of pictures.”
When Lopes retires from his 8-to-5 job in a few years, he already has a hobby he enjoys and his photography equipment paid for. Look up Lopres on Facebook or call (408) 348-1515.
“The festival is very family friendly. It benefits the city and merchants downtown, bringing people to the historic and revitalized downtown,” said Eagleston. “Hopefully, they will return over and over again.”