News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Harvest Faire draws horde of shoppers

The annual harvest celebration event is a Sisters tradition, and for 40 years thousands of people from all over the Pacific Northwest meet up in Sisters to observe the changing season with the Sisters Harvest Faire, hosted by Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce.

Last weekend the event featured 185 vendors that lined Main Avenue with unique handcrafted items from fused glass to metal art. There were novelties for everyone’s taste.

The faire is the last hurrah of the summer season and has continued to evolve from its modest beginnings.

Jeri Buckmann, event coordinator for the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce, was happy as she commented on another exceptional faire.

“The show is now twice the size, with the same number of vendors, because we have a lot more space for visitors. More spread out for the entertainment and food,” Buckmann said. “The town was busy and that is what we strive for in the off-season. I loved it. I work hard to make this a great experience not only for the visitors but the vendors as well. The show is celebrating 40 years, an achievement I am proud to be part of. Many vendors have been in the show since its beginning, and even though I see them only once a year it’s like a homecoming. Hugs, laughter, and catching up on each other’s lives. Maybe more like a family reunion, and one big family that I adore.”

The scent of caramel apples by River’s Edge Gourmet Foods and kettle corn, made by Diamond 2 Kettle Korn, lingered in the air as people browsed through stunning displays of handcrafted artifacts.

Portland resident Joe Bennett, vendor and owner of Glass Designs, had just finished hanging a one-of-a-kind glass plate with a two-dimensional black-and-white cat design fused on top, captured in a pose.

“This is my original design. Butch, our cat, was the runt of a litter of three. He lived for 19 years and once, before the age of digital photography, sat still long enough for me to capture him in this pose,” Bennett told The Nugget.

Bennett had been toying with glass since the late 1970s and was working with cold glass until his wife purchased a kiln for his birthday a few years ago.

He added, “I figured out the process of fused glass and wanted to try something unique. All my cat designs are made from the likeness of the cats we have owned.”

Musical entertainment on the Fir Street Park stage enhanced everyone’s shopping experience. With a wide array of country music styles, Dry Canyon Stampede performed on Saturday while folks kicked up their boots. On Sunday, artist Bill Keale’s smooth, soulful Hawaiian style added a special touch throughout the day.

First-time vendor Elayne Watrus from La Pine was busy with customers interested in her steampunk horse statues. Her unique business, Ranch Hands, kicked off four years ago out of her love of horses, clay art and automotive gears.

She noted, “I find stone horses or any kind of broken old model horses, I repair the damage, use some clay, then each one goes into a kiln. They are stamped and oil painted.”

Vendor and fiber artist Sami Golden from La Pine could have won the “most colorful booth award” with her hand-knitted one-of-a-kind kaleidoscope shawls made from alpaca wool.

She noted, “Each one is a totally different design from the other.”

She also displayed hand puppets that everyone wanted to try.

Vendor and artist Lori Hill displayed colorful whimsical creatures painted in oils.

Hill said, “It all started about 10 years ago when we lived oversees in France. I met an artist and learned oil painting but didn’t know what to paint. So, the artist gave me a picture of an ostrich and I was hooked painting ostriches. I’ve added llamas and alpacas to my collection since my granddaughter likes them.”

You could choose from her brightly painted animal mugs, wraparound canvas, pillows, blankets or totes.

Every year for 26 years people have gathered around the booth of David Johns (aka The Spice Guy) when he gets cooking. He showcases his homemade salt-free seasonings on a variety of vegetables during his cooking demonstrations.

Tigard resident and first-time vendor Katy Dyler, owner of Tati&me, designs children’s clothing.

“Tati is my daughter, and I make colorful cotton dresses for ages one to 8. I love to play around with different fabric combinations.”

Dyler was featured in Portland Monthly Magazine and was selected by Netflix for a backdrop on the set for a series called “Trinket.”

Autumn décor added to the ambience with handcrafted pumpkins made from wood and homemade placemats accented with fall leaves.

Stone Vases & Functional Pottery by Dee and Barbara Adams from Pacific City is one vendor that folks can always count on seeing every year at the Harvest Faire.

“We’ve been vendors at the Faire for 39 years,” said Dee.

The couple missed the first year but got their start the second year in 1980 with four inches of snow on the ground.


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