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One Day Down at the 40th Art and Wine Festival

More people, more vendors and more entertainment filled downtown Mountain View Saturday.

Under a bright summer California sun, the 40th had a successful kick off Saturday.

"We don't have final numbers but we ordered more glasses of beer and we were virtually sold out by 2 p.m. today," said Oscar Garcia, executive director of the . According Garcia, they try to estiamte the number of attendees by how many wine or beer glasses they sell. "We either had more people buying beer or more people in general."

The two-day event, which fills all of Castro Street with hundreds of vendors of all types, continued to be a crowd favorite in the Bay Area.

"It's actually my first time here," said Shiela de Dios, of San Jose, who came with festival veterans Jackie Chen and Vnce T. "It's fun. It's a pretty good festival."

Other festival-goers also noticed an increase in the size and amount of people this year too. However, that didn't mean they spent their money.

That's the experience of business partners Harriet Helfricht and Manny Magellon, of the Acrylic & Clay and Groundhog Pottery booth. The pair has attended the festival for seven years and after the first day this year, they felt pessimistic about recovering their investment.

"So far it has not met my expectation," said Helfricht. "We are now the entertainment for people who come out to have fun."

The free festival makes it easy for people to just walk and browse but not shop. When they do shop, according to Magellon, it's with a mentality.

"People expect things really cheap," he said. "They don't have appreciation for handmade items made in America."

Festival attendee Marco Gabriel has come to the festival for the past 10 years. He like to people watch.

"I don't think people are spending more money," said Marco Gabriel, a Mountain View resident. "There's nothing that attracts me to buy. I just come out to enjoy the atmosphere."

The atmosphere keeps Eric Cho, of San Jose, coming back every year too. Last year he volunteered, but this year he was just going to enjoy it.

"I like the atmosphere, the mix of people. There's lots of art and food," he said. "I think it's as fun as last year."

Mary Alice Reid September 11, 2011 at 03:06 PM
only part of this article that stands out is how much beer you sold, how sad is that, we spent the whole day there, didn't drink anything but water, loved the music, had a great time checking out all the booths, great food....was excited when I saw the headline of this article.....was hoping to paste it on my facebook for my family back east to get a better understanding of Mountain View and the festival....if I'd read this before hand, I probably wouldn't have even attended....frankly I'm offended, I don't drink beer and no, I didn't go there with a Walmart mentality, and ya I did buy a few things.....I won't be posting this article or sending it to anyone for sure
Mary Alice Reid September 11, 2011 at 03:23 PM
The free festival makes it easy for people to just walk and browse but not shop. When they do shop, according to Magellon, it's with a Wal-mart mentality. "People expect things really cheap," he said. "They don't have appreciation for handmade items made in America." ....wrong, I went there specifically to see what people had made etc....this article is way off track......and I love Walmart and I sure knew that is not where I was shopping
Claudia Cruz September 11, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Hi Mary, thanks for your comments. Like you said, there are some new vendors to the festival, but the ones I spoke with weren't new. It's possible to have more vendors without the "more" being necessarily "new." However, we are working on a story that more specifically looks at the business-side of the festival and I'm sure we'll find more new vendors to interview. Stay tuned!
Claudia Cruz September 11, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I added a bit more detail of what Chamber President and CEO Oscar Garcia meant. It's not necessarily that all people do here is drink beer. It's that the number of glasses sold gives them one way to measure the volume of people at the festival. I'm sure people buy glasses just as a keepsake. They are very decorative and useful. Further, there is a balance of attitudes reflected in the article. Some people just stroll. Some people eat. Some people just enjoy the music. Some people indeed go to drink the carefully selected wine choices and taste the beer from the local brewery. However, the article doesn't suggest that everyone who attends does so with a Walmart mentality. That's one opinion. And while it may not be yours, it may also be held by others who sell or shop at these festivals. The article tried to be fair. If you really enjoyed the festival that's great. Some other people might have enjoyed it less.
Claudia Cruz September 11, 2011 at 08:59 PM
That's one opinion. "Wrong," sounds a bit harsh, don't you think? Sometimes we may disagree with people but it doesn't mean that one person is right and another is wrong. Art and Wine Festivals definitely provide an opportunity for people to buy one-of-a-kind items, stuff that is almost impossible to find at Wal-Mart. However, one-of-a-kind, hand-made items are usually always more expensive. So some people may actually "window-shop" at the festival but then convince themselves that they can find something cheaper elsewhere (like clothes, vases, pottery, pictures/prints/photographs). I think that was this person's perspective. Hopefully, they'll do a little better on Sunday and perhaps that will shift their outlook.

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