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September 22, 2023

Art Wine and Beer Fest showcases ‘best of Scotts Valley’

Team of 200 volunteers help put on celebration

Scotts Valley Fire Department engineer Dan Pedemonte was repeatedly dunked into a tank filled with water by children whose parents contributed money to a fundraiser for Hawaiian fire victims.

The toss game was happening Saturday at Skypark, which itself served as a staging ground for CZU Lightning Complex firefighting efforts three years ago.

It was just one of many wine, home improvement, artisan, religious, municipal and other booths set up for the Chamber of Commerce’s two-day 2023 Scotts Valley Art Wine and Beer Festival.

A child delights in knocking Scotts Valley Fire Department engineer Dan Pedemonte into a tank as part of a fundraiser for Hawaiian fire victims. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

“This is my third year and I love it,” said Christine Oliver, a visual artist from Sunnyvale. “The first year was pretty wet. Last year was hot. This year was perfect.”

The work Oliver’s displaying has morphed over the installments. She had mostly been exhibiting watercolors.

“Two years ago, I said, ‘I need a challenge,’” said Oliver, recalling how she began to experiment with acrylics and more abstract forms, as she motioned to a canvas festooned with swaths of acrylic ink and oil pastels. “My goal is to sell at least one framed piece.”

That would cover the participation fee, she explained. Last year she had some success, including selling a similar-looking painting to a woman who’d lost her home in the CZU Fire.

“She actually bought two of my paintings,” said Oliver, adding she was hoping the buyer might pop by and say hello. “What I like about this is the location, and so many people come to this.”

It had been a breeze to figure out the details for this year’s big event, Oliver explained.

“The organizers are so great,” she said. “They make it so easy for artists to be here.”

Christine Oliver, a visual artist from Sunnyvale, displays her artwork. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

Suddenly, Mayor Jack Dilles appeared. No, he wasn’t just making a ceremonial visit in hopes of currying favor with the electorate. He’d been on-site since 8 in the morning getting his hands dirty setting things up.

“It’s a real feel-good event,” Dilles said. “I’m just looking forward to meeting people.”

The festival tends to be quite the gathering place, after all, the mayor noted.

“Old friends come back into town just for this event,” he said. “It feels great.”

He was also using it as an opportunity to advocate for a school district tax increase with a “Yes on V” button on his shirt, which he’d picked up from local education boosters earlier in the day.

“They asked me if I wanted the button,” he said. “And I said, ‘Yeah.’”

Pam Wood, the Candyrags artist from Corralitos, took advantage of a lull to speak with the Press Banner.

“It’s kinda slowing down, but that’s how these things work,” she said. “You never know what will happen next.”

Her cash register had been getting quite a bit of action.

“I sold a painting,” she said, noting in addition to that octopus canvass, she’d also sold a number of prints. “I stand out. But there’s no guarantees.”

Dhruv Patel, a district manager of Leaf Filter, was busy demonstrating their gutter protection technology.

“We’ve done pretty well so far,” he said, noting they were on track to meet their targets for the event. He’d managed to sneak away to grab a quesadilla at a Mexican food vendor and said it was delicious.

A display of classic cars was just one of many attractions at the Scotts Valley Art Wine and Beer Festival, put on by the Chamber of Commerce, over the weekend. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

Mike and Karen Tyree of Scotts Valley Gym had their own news blast to share.

“I’m getting a bunch of new equipment on Monday,” said Mike, adding, “It’s really good to be out here.”

The trend he’s noticed, this year, is youth taking an interest in fitness after facing lockdown doldrums.

“I’d rather the high schoolers have their hangout at the gym than at the gas station,” he said, noting that in addition to recent sign-ups of younger locals, they have members as old as 85.

Bryce Trebbe, a 17-year-old volunteer from Scotts Valley, said these hours will count toward getting his high school diploma.

“I need 60 hours of community service,” he said, noting he had a chance to take over someone’s artisan booth while they took a break—although he didn’t make any sales. “I still tried.”

Fifth District supervisorial candidate Monica Martinez was busy making her acquaintance with voters she hopes will put her in the seat Bruce McPherson is about to vacate, following his retirement announcement.

“It’s incredible to see how many people are here today,” she said. “This event really highlights the best of Scotts Valley.”

On Wednesday, Danny Reber, executive director of the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, echoed that sentiment.

“With 200-plus registered volunteers, 30-plus business sponsors, 20-plus nonprofits, 13 local wineries, 11 local breweries, 19 food vendors, 120-plus artists, and local performers on stage all weekend, this festival is a true coming together of the very best our community has to offer,” Reber said. “This festival puts Scotts Valley ‘on the map’ and also generates substantial revenue to our surrounding businesses and local economy. In the three years since we came out of Covid, each year of our festival has been the most successful to date—with this year being our most successful ever.”

The winner of the car show was Neal Austin from, of Santa Cruz, with his 1969 Chevy Camaro.

Members of the Community Advocates of Scotts Valley gather at their booth. (Drew Penner/Press Banner)

But the event was much more than just hot rods and organizations handing out literature promoting various forms of meditation. 

Many locals were intrigued by the Community Advocates of Scotts Valley booth.

Shanna Bustichi, one of their board members, says she got involved because she was interested in finding out more about how she could give back to the community.

The organization was started by Sarah De Leon, whose family has been in the Bay Area since 1844.

She says she was compelled to spearhead the initiative after the Parks Advocates nonprofit was shut down because the way it was set up violated California regulations.

“We just got our bank account yesterday,” she said. “This is my town. This is where I live. And I want to focus my efforts on that.”

But this entity will be focused on more than just improving recreational areas. They want to restore Fourth of July fireworks, see the school tax renewed and develop a crossing guard program for the middle and elementary schools.

Cheryl Noble, a Scotts Valley High School teacher with a middle schooler, says she was thrilled to see community members already volunteering as crossing guards.

“They volunteered their time to help our kids get to school safe,” she said. “I was just really blown away.”

That’s because teachers had been doing it. Now, the Community Advocates want to make some of these roles paid positions.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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