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Artists, crafters set to sell their wares at annual event

OLIVENHAIN — The Olivenhain Arts & Crafts Festival will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Olivenhain Meeting Hall located at the corner of Rancho Santa Fe Road and 7th Street.
The origins of the festival can be traced to the fall of 1973 when Dorothy Kendall, and her daughter, Sue Norton, rented the Olivenhain Meeting Hall so they could sell homemade wreaths and Christmas decorations for the holidays.
“We’d tell Dorothy how creative she was and she’d reply, ‘No, I’m not. I’m just handy with a glue gun,’” remembers Mary Jo Nortman, chair of this year’s fair.
The following year Nortman and a group of other Olivenhain residents including Kathy Cole, Twink Bumann, Joann Roesner and Candy Mathis adopted the idea. Together they made Christmas decorations, Barbie doll clothes, chocolate chip cookies and apple pies as a means for the Olivenhain Town Council to raise money to maintain the historic Olivenhain Meeting Hall.
“In 1975 we really started to open it up by advertising and inviting local artists to participate,” Nortman said. “It grew from eight to 25 vendors. Now it’s close to 100.”
This year’s selection of holiday arts and crafts will include oil paintings, photography, picture frames, sculptures, blown glass, bird houses, painted furniture, planters, lamps, quilts, jewelry, embellished apparel, wool accessories, homemade soap, dolls, organic dog biscuits, pet accessories, juggling sticks with an instructional video, dish gardens, succulent wreaths, homemade pickles and chocolate.
“Our fair is different from others because the items are made by the people who are selling them,” Twink Buman said. “There are several different artists and you kind of hope that the same ones you’ve seen before will be there again this year.”
Nortman adds that anyone who tries to sell something they haven’t made themselves will be banned from participating in the fair in future years. These violators are the exception to the rule, as the fair attracts artisans who take pride in their wares.
“There are items for every pocketbook,” Nortman said. “Most crafters stand behind their products. If there’s a problem I give the consumer the vendor’s phone number so they can call. Usually, the vendor will replace or fix the items.”
Booth rental is $45 for the general public and $25 for Olivenhain Town Council members. On the day of the event vendors are able to keep the first $100 they make. After that, they are required to pay 10 percent of every $100 they sell. For example, if someone sells $500 they pay $40 to the town council.
“It’s a lot cheaper than other craft fairs,” Nortman said.
Many nonprofits will be participating this year including the 4H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the San Dieguito Riders, the Susan B. Komen Foundation and the San Dieguito Women’s Club.
The Boy Scouts will be on hand to help vendors unload their merchandise. Members of the 4H will circulate the grounds, selling food and beverages to crafters so they won’t have to leave their booth unattended.
For more information, call Mary Jo Nortman at (760) 436-2128.