As always, parking close to Central Park for the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival was a matter of luck—or shelling out $10 to park at St. Justin’s—so most people walked from blocks away to the September 14 and 15 festival. A breeze carried the all-day sound of music to them from the pavilion stage well before they arrived.
“This year is the best festival I’ve seen because of all the variety of vendors, the entertainment, and the food,” says Mary Cage from Santa Clara, showing off her new wine-cork earrings to her neighbor Gloria Heistein after running into her Saturday at the festival, where about 175 artists’ booths lined the walkways of Central Park.
“There’s a whole array of exhibits, from unique artwork to organic seeds to community services such as banking and home improvements and the Triton Museum,” says Heistein. “There is so much interesting stuff, you could linger at each booth.”
“This festival is unique,” says woodworker Lee Freitas, who makes unique birdhouses (www.losgatosbirdhouses.com). “The people who organize it are just nice folks to work with. When you set up Friday, they even bring you coffee and rolls.”
Hundreds of volunteers and business sponsors from the community work with the Parks and Recreation Department to make the Santa Clara Art & Wine Festival, now a 33-year tradition, a great community event for the estimated 50,000 who attended.
“It’s a special civic event that the City and the community put on as a way of bringing the community together,” says City Parks and Recreation Director Jim Teixeira. “It’s a day Santa Clara really gets to shine, to be hospitable and have really good fun. It helps reinforce the City image as welcoming. You can see the diversity of folks who come to this great event.”
“It’s fun to see the families and kids here. Other festivals are less focused on the family. The park is a great area to be in, and it’s a beautiful day,” says fiber artist Mary Hammond (www.chemersgallery.com).
“This is the only show I’m doing this year,” says Carol Smidt-Shaw, who handcrafts aprons and totebags using reclaimed fabrics. “I really like the people here.” Visit www.bag4me.org to see how Shaw gives back to the community by making totebags for foster children in Santa Cruz County.
“The wines available are excellent, and I’m a wine aficionado,” says Nancy Smith from Mountain View.
Teixeira says that the order for wine glasses—12,000—and wine was up 20 percent over 2012. Two hundred and seventy-five cases of wine from Wente, J. Lohr, Guglielmo, and Bargetto Wineries and 100 kegs of beer from Gordon Biersch were ordered.
The Senior Center Health and Wellness Program, Schools Foundation, Police Activities League, Friends of Parks and Recreation, and Santa Clara and Wilcox High Schools Grad Night Committees will receive a share of the net festival proceeds from the sale of wine and beer, which totaled $42,000 in 2012. In addition, almost three-dozen community groups sold refreshments to raise funds for their non-profit organizations.