Handmade in the USA is a point of emphasis during this weekend’s Harvest Festival, organizers and vendors say.

    Entering its 27th year in operation, the arts and crafts fair will give DIYers (do it yourself) a chance to show off their wares to a large audience of potential buyers.

    “It’s the largest collection of original arts and crafts,” said Lisa Carey, spokesperson for the event. “They’re made in America, they’re handmade originals and more than 24,000 will be on display.”

    Objects for sale will include jewelry, gourmet foods, garden designs, antique treasures, photographs, sculptures, paintings, toys, glass and woodwork.

    “(Those who attend are) definitely going to find something that strikes their fancy,” Carey said. “It’s collected all under on roof.”

    According to show vendors, Harvest Festival’s reputation has grown because of the stringent standards for those allowed to sell during it.

    “The reason I love doing the show is that they bring in people who are real loyal to going to the show,” said Susan Lake, woodcarver. “They have a loyal following who are used to seeing very high quality crafts. There’s the expectation that artists are going to show quality items.”

    Lake, who currently lives in Cerritos, will be selling her special woodcrafts while demonstrating her technique each day.

    “These people take real pride in their presentations,” Carey said. “They put love and respect into everything they make. In this day and age, that’s something that’s sort of missing.”

    Aside from the crafts vendors, the Harvest Fest will have a number of other activities to keep patrons busy, Carey added. Pacific Hospital of Long Beach will be present to conduct free health screenings on blood pressure, heart rate, cardio respiratory and body mass.

    “In these days, it’s especially beneficial because many people don’t take the time for wellness care,” Carey said.

    The Long Beach Museum of Art will host an interactive children’s area. There will be performances by the Scott Land Marionettes and “party band” HyJinx 2.0. Knots of Love organizers, who specially knit crochet hats for cancer patients, will be present with fund-raising efforts.

    The atmosphere will be conducive to a full day of shopping and fun, Carey said.

    “It allows the patron to leisurely browse and interact with the exhibitors,” she said. “It’s fun for the artist because they work and hand make all their creations, and now they get to interact and see the joy on people’s faces.”

    Lakewood resident Elfried Somberg said she agreed with those sentiments. She is the owner of Hang In There, a jewelry outfit that specializes in ear apparel that doesn’t necessarily require pierced ears.

    “None of it is stuff you’d pick up at a department store,” she said. “A lot of it requires explaining. Selling directly to the public gives you much better feedback.”

    Somberg said she’s been participating in Harvest Festivals for about 15 years, and is always happy to sell at her “home” event when it comes back to Long Beach.

    “It can be very rewarding,” she said.

    The Harvest Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday — all days at the Long Beach Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C. General admission will be $9. Senior admission will be $7. Youth ages 13 to 17 will be $4. Children ages 12 and younger will receive free admission. For more information, visit www.harvestfestival.com.

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