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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Square Tomatoes Craft Fair continues and expands

Davis’ Square Tomatoes Craft Fair is back this month with even more vendors, activities and booths. The fair was started in August and the community has taken such a liking to it that it is slated to continue each month.

This month it will be on Sunday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. between 6th and G Street, right next to the Davis Food Co-op.

Sally Parker, the founder of the event, started the fair after she saw the success of weekly craft fairs in Eugene and Portland, Ore.
“I wanted Square Tomatoes to be a direct market, like an old-fashioned Farmers Market, where artisans bring their work directly to visitors without a large payment to a middleman,” Parker said in an email interview. “Visitors avoid paying the 50 percent markup normal to retail sales of crafts. Both vendors and visitors get a huge bargain.”
However, the event itself seems to have very little to do with square tomatoes. Meant as a spoof, Parker named it after Davis’ unique but controversial agricultural invention: the square tomato.
The fair has live music, food booths, comfort zones and hands-on craft tutorials. People can learn crafts from an experienced teacher. Many of the vendors at the craft fair are current or former instructors at the UC Davis Craft Center, including Parker, who teaches “Models, Molds and Microsculpture,” a shortcut in the silver and bronze casting process. Dede deGraffenried teaches bronze casting, Monica Riche taught sewing and Carol Wheaton taught knitting.
Other vendors include local artists and shop owners of the Etsy website.
“I like to describe our craft fair as a Farmers Market for artists. We had our first craft fair in August and that was all done by Sally,” Riche said in an email interview. “In this month’s fair, I will be teaching people to make [Día de los Muertos] pendants, also called sugar skulls. I will have polymer clay out and everything available to have people come and make their own pendants.”
This month’s fair will have a storytelling contest. Parker will tell the story “High Noon at Twilight.” She says she is putting a new spin on the story of an antisocial corpse who refuses to decompose or stop talking until he is outwitted by a mediocre violinist.
Dr. D, a former professor at UC Davis, and Denise Hoffner are the two other storytellers.
“Dr. D. will tell ‘Huge,’ a story of Davis genetic engineering gone awry. Denise Hoffner will tell ‘Magic at the Crossroads,’ about an event in the life of a Davis crossing guard,” Parker said. “So far we have three storytellers, but grandstanders with good lungs are welcome to join if they go to the website and submit their story ahead of time.”

Ron Goldberg, Wendy Silk and a bass player will be doing a few riffs in the background to stories. They will also be playing before and after the contest.

In addition to the craft booths and storytelling activities, the fair will also have food booths by Kathmandu Kitchen and Davis Creamery.
“I hadn’t heard about the craft fair until recently, but it seems like a typical Davis event, kind of like the Farmers Market, but with crafts, and that’s always fun,” said Pauleen Truong, a third-year communication major. “The fact that they have food booths by Kathmandu and Davis Creamery just makes the event even better.”
For people who want to take a break from the activity and just relax, there is a spot to do that. A booth called the comfort zone has wicker chairs, free iced tea and shade for those who want to just relax.
“I think it’s a great way to spend a Sunday, especially this month’s because we are doing a storytelling contest for anyone who has a great imagination, and tarot readings,” Riche said. “Students might find the craft fair inspirational for their own projects, learn about the Davis community and understand the reasons for having local markets.”PAAYAL ZAVERI can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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