San Mateo’s Harvest Festival carries on artistic tradition


Julia Roseborough

Artist and vender Debbie Arambula works to finish her painting as festival attendees walk by and observe her artwork.

The bustling crowd and lively activity at the San Mateo Harvest Festival attracted vendors and customers alike. The exhibitors of this festival all produce handmade goods to create the best possible festival each year.

The festival took place at the San Mateo County Event Center, from Nov. 15-17. The Harvest Festival Original Art and Craft Shows have exhibited for 46 successful years, including at significant markets and indoor venues.

Three hundred forty-six booths were set up at the event, selling various products. The festivals usually contain an average of 220-330 exhibits, making this year’s show on the larger side. Out of these vendors, only 32 were new to the festival this year. The other 314 were returning sellers, all eager for another year at the festival.

The wide assortment of goods for sale at the booths included bags, ceramics, children’s items, clothing and textile, food, pet items, wall art, and special attractions.

Vendor Joe Murphy traveled from Fort Bragg, California, to sell his work at the festival. He creates peace chains, which are wooden or ceramic pendants with messages of peace inscribed onto it.

“I have created my artwork over the past 28 years and have been taking part in this festival for three years now. I have personally handmade and distributed 614,993 pieces, and will continue to make them for the rest of my life,” Murphy said.

Joan and Dan Swartz, another exhibitor, take part in the Harvest Festival and around 40 other markets. Their studio, Tahoe Art Glass Studios, sells dichroic glass jewelry, blown glass pumpkins, and paperweights.

“These harvest festivals are our favorite because there’s a lot of people and everybody’s in the holiday shopping mode. It’s always interesting meeting people and being able to share your art,” Joan Swartz said.

Debbie Arambula also sells her artwork, which includes paintings filled with beautiful colors and designs.

“This is my 23rd year, and I’ve done over 3000 shows around the country. This festival is special because it’s very family-oriented and has a holiday feeling,” Arambula said.

This family-friendly festival had something for everyone. The enthusiastic attendees and vendors all join to create this ever-growing event. The San Mateo Harvest Festival attracted a diverse group of people to this one-of-a-kind experience.