Lively and Windy at Rotary Art & Wine Festival - Mountain News : News

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Lively and Windy at Rotary Art & Wine Festival

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Posted: Thursday, May 23, 2019 9:00 am

The 38th Annual Art and Wine Festival kicked off on Saturday, May 18, with a great attendance of repeat attendees and first-timers. By 2 p.m., the event was packed with locals and mountain visitors alike.

Although the event went very smoothly, the cold and windy weather was not cooperative. The strong wind intensified through Saturday night and destroyed many canopies overnight. With toppled canopies and bad weather, the festival was canceled at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

The annual Rotary Art & Wine Festival is the major fundraising event for the Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead, in which all proceeds are donated back to the communities through scholarships, literacy programs, and many other charities. The poor weekend weather made a negative impact on fundraising, which will impact many non-profit groups and charities in the community through Rotary’s projects.

These cold and windy weather-related occurrences were no match for the festivities on Saturday. The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, featured many bands including Ready or Not, a local Lake Arrowhead classic rock style band. They covered the hits from the past as attendees walked among the spectacular art, jewelry, sculptures, ceramics, photography. Now, the Rotary Art & Wine Festival is a signature event in Lake Arrowhead.

The festival took place on the shores of Tavern Bay, adjacent to the UCLA Conference Center, set the perfect tone of art, music, wine and picturesque lake views for the attendees.

A boat shuttle from the village and back was also scheduled for both days but had to be canceled early on Saturday due to the high winds and choppy waters. Attendance was affected.

Many artists of different types of artistic creations attended this year and made their creative works available to the community. The festival’s 2019 Featured Artist was the late Donald Jolley. He specialized in painting watercolor and acrylic landscapes, particularly of Lake Arrowhead. Velma Jolley was curating the late artist’s spectacular collection and spoke about her husband being featured at the festival.

“I was very honored to be asked to have Donald’s work be the featured artist at this festival,” Velma said. “I was very happy to comply because he lived up here for most of his professional career and the community supported him all those years.”

Another artist that had her unique talents displayed and for sale, was Brenda Buffalin. Buffalin “specializes in conceptual bronzes and kinetic interactive sculpture.” She had fantastic sculptures showcased throughout her booth of bronzed human hands doing everyday human activities. She describes this art as “capturing the human expressions through hand positions and movements.” She speaks of this as “conceptualism through the human hand.”

The Willow Woods Quilt Guild was also present. They had their fantastic quilt creations on display for attendees to view and they also had a message for the local community. The 11th Annual Blue Jay Quilt Walk is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28. The Willow Woods Quilt Guild was established in 1998 and has attended the Art & Wine Festival for the past 10 years.

“We are auctioning these quilts at our Blue Jay Quilt Walk,” said Megan Peacock, who was tabling at the event for the Willow Woods Quilt Guild. “The proceeds from the Quilt Walk will go to benefit Camp Paivika.”

Another charitable artist organization that was present at the Art & Wine Festival was the Rim High School Crackpot Ceramics Club, hosted by Morgan and Jason Stehmeier. They have attended the festival for the past 14 years. The Art & Wine Festival is the primary off-campus event they attend to showcase their creations.

“All the money (raised from the festival) goes back to the school and goes into the club fund,” Jason said.

Other artists at the festival include, but are not limited to Artistic Works, which specializes in custom tile, murals, and pottery; Lindsay’s Stained Glass; Wogee Wood Creations; Lisbet Sjoberg Designs, specializing in silver jewelry; Joel Henskier Fine Art Photography; Shell-Bell Designs, specializing in torch created jewelry; 4 A Bee Designs artisan jewelry; James and Bella Lassak’s pottery food grinders; and the Mountain Arts Network.

This year’s festival winners are:

* Wood medium winners: Jeff Davison in first place and Mike Woggee in second place.

* Metal and sculpture winners: David Sierchula in first place and Brenda Buffalin in second place

* Ceramics winners: Linda Dean in first place and Bella Lassac in second place.

* Textile winners: Lindsay Dion in first place and Teri Donica in second place.

* Jewelry winners: Dorothy Campbell in first place and Shell Bell in second place.

* Photography winners: Joel Hensler in first place and Rebecca Smith in second place.

* Painting winners: Nancy Grace in first place and Rick Rodante in second place.

* Mixed media winners: Camille King in first place and Susan Priest in second place.

* Glass medium winner: Maggie Spencer.

* Best in Show: Munir Jones.


Many attendees perusing the art galleries, sampling the many wines available, or dual wielding the craft beer provided by Stone Brewing Company were repeat attendees of years past. 

One such attendee was Melissa Carlson. This year’s festival was her third year and she spoke about very highly about this year’s event.

“[The event is] very fun, with a lot of good (artist) booths, great wine and a lot of friendly people,” Carlson said. “…it is a little more windy [this year], but it just as good [as previous years] and the wine selection is excellent.”

One first-time attendee was Drew Mardis. Local residents invited him up to the mountain and to the festival for the weekend.

“…the weather is a little cold and windy,” Mardis said. “We were in the VIP section. The wine is really good and the art is great.”

The VIP Patio, which had an outdoor seating area overlooking Tavern Bay, was beautifully decorated with plants from Four Seasons Garden Center and the VIP Patio sponsor was Mile High Marine.

All the food and wine in the VIP Patio was catered by The Grapevine and the VIP wine was donated by three wineries: Ascension Cellars, Sycamore Ranch Vineyard & Winery, and Vinemark Cellars.

“We are happy to be part of the Rotary Art & Wine Festival,” said Richard Krumwiede of Sycamore Ranch, who has been donating the VIP wine for many years.

“My wife and I are making small production wine blends from Paso Robles. Six barrels each of wines specializing in Rhone & Bordeaux which are always true to the grape,” said Dave Dinsmore, from Ascension Cellars.

Patrons of the VIP Patio tent were able to pair these fine wines with the food catered by The Grapevine from Lake Arrowhead Village.

“We’re excited to be the caterer for the VIP Patio,” said Grant Dunning, owner of The Grapevine. “We have a great selection of small plates for guests to enjoy. We’re excited to provide all the wines in the general pour as we have 15 great selections of wines with many different varietals.”

Festival food vendors included hot dogs from Rotary Dog’s, tacos from RB’s Steakhouse, sliders and a cheese plate from The Grapevine, and a Roasted Pecans booth.

“Our festivals guests love the Rotary hot dogs,” shared Angela Yap, Rotary Dog chair. “We are thankful to the UCLA Conference Center who sponsors our Rotary Dog booth every year. Their support plays a major role in our fundraising event.”

Other major sponsors for the Rotary Art & Wine Festival included Arrowhead Lake Association, Lake Arrowhead Village, Mountain News, The Grapevine and Stone Brewing.

Chairmen of the Art & Wine Festival, Bob Gladwell, assisted the front check-in table where a long line had formed by mid-day. He had many good things to say about this year’s Art & Wine Festival and the festival in general.

“It’s a wonderful community event,” Gladwell said. “We have so many groups that help us put this on because our Rotary Club is a good size, but there is not enough Rotarians to do everything that needs to be done… at the hot dog booth, we have Rim cheerleaders. The Rim wrestling team helps with setup and takedown of the event,”

Gladwell mentioned many other helpful organizations around the mountain that helped with the festival including Soroptimist International, UCLA Mountain Bruins Club, Arrowhead Arts Association and the Rim Educational Foundation to name a few.

“All these people come help, work, and contribute to this, and because of that there is a community-wide impact,” Gladwell said.

The Art & Wine Festival had a silent auction which included many art items donated by the festival’s artists and various donations from local businesses. All this was done to raise funds for the Rotary Club and its many important contributions to the community.

By the close of Saturday’s festivities, many people had enjoyed the art, wines, beer and food made available to them by this long-running Lake Arrowhead annual community event.

The event only lasted half as long, due to bad weather compared to other years. The Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead is now faced with not meeting budgeted funding from the festival. A follow-up meeting will be set to address a contingency plan for this loss.

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