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Cheese platter with a variety of different cheese and crackers
The Homestead Arts Faire on Feb. 22 in Escondido gives attendees a chance to learn about agriculture and homesteading. Courtesy photo
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Escondido to host ‘Homestead Arts Faire’

ESCONDIDO — Embracing the rich agricultural history and industry in San Diego County, local businesses will gather on Saturday, Feb. 22, for the bi-annual Homestead Arts Faire in Escondido.

The event, hosted by longtime North County business Hawthorne Country Store, will bring together more than a dozen local businesses focused on highlighting the agriculture and homestead industries in the region.

Attendees of the event can expect to interact with experts and owners from different businesses within the agricultural and homestead industries. Visitors will also be able to learn about different topics such as gardening, water reclamation, raising livestock, creating personal hygiene products, baking goods, hunting and fishing, and reusing products. Heather Thelen, one of the owners of Hawthorne Country Store, a family-owned business, said they’ve hosted the event for years at the request of their customers who wanted to learn more about homesteading and agriculture.

“Escondido has a rich agricultural and homesteading history, but we have grown out of these skills being passed because of necessity,” Thelen said. “This is a unique way to preserve and celebrate our heritage. (The idea of the fair) came from our customers wanting to connect with other folks.”

Hawthorne Country Store has had a long presence in North County. The business currently has two locations, one in Escondido and another in Fallbrook, offering customers products in pet, equestrian, livestock, gardening and home food preservation. Operated by three generations, Thelen said visitors of the Homestead Arts Faire, can expect to learn something new by attending the event.

“You can expect to see something, definitely learn something, and maybe to hook up with a new or expanded hobby,” Thelen said. “You may have the opportunity to learn, experience, taste, buy and create from a number of unique people in our community. We are Escondido natives and have been celebrating the agrarian lifestyle in store form for 22 plus years.”

But the event isn’t just for customers wanting to learn more about agriculture or homesteading. The Homestead Arts Faire also allows vendors to share information about their passions with curious minds.

Dan Luong, also known as “Bee Man Dan,” is one vendor who plans to participate in the Homestead Arts Faire.

The owner of We Save Bees, Luong offers bee removal services in a safe way. He said he’s been working with Hawthorne Country Store for more than years.

“Heather’s always looking for new products and nifty things,” said Luong, whose company operates throughout California and Arizona. “I’m always personally amazed at the variety of resources she pulls together here.”

Luong said any member of the public would enjoy the offerings at the twice-a-year Homestead Arts Faire held in Escondido.

“I would come here just to see the animals,” Luong said. “But anyone who’s looking into homesteading, raising livestock, if you have dogs, pickling, fermenting foods, cheese making, and bee equipment, of course.”

Attendees might also just be interested in talking to experts in their fields, Luong said.

“It’s always nice to pick the brains of people who live their products,” Luong said. “(There are) always tidbits and nuggets of information to find out.”

As a whole, the Homestead Arts Faire brings together passionate people from all different backgrounds.

“We see some experts, some novices, and just some interesting people in our community,” Thelen said. “Creating a space for them to share is part of our mission.”

The Homestead Arts Faire will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Hawthorne Country Store at 675 W. Grand Ave. in Escondido. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Homestead Arts Faire or Hawthorne Country Store, go to