The atmosphere was set as people arrived in the parking lot of Fairfield Inn Saturday, with wreaths and holiday inflatables and deer welcoming them, and dozens of Christmas trees and other décor filling the lobby and rooms for the annual holiday craft and wine festival.
Santa Claus along with elves and Mrs. Claus greeted young visitors just inside the front doors, and a number of vendors of both crafts and wine were on hand to share their goods with shoppers.
In the corner of the craft vending area, Jeff Wilson, a glass artist and instructor at the Sawtooth Center for the Visual Arts, used a torch to demonstrate glass work as he twisted colors together and stretched them in the flame of the torch.
Face painting was offered free for the children as volunteer Hannah Norman carefully decorated their cheeks and faces with bees, cats, candy canes, ornaments and more in a rainbow of color offerings.
As she spent a few minutes with her husband, Jose, and sons, Jio and Cristian, who came to see Santa and enjoy the festivities, Mary Kay consultant Evelisse Minoso said she does a lot of events at the Fairfield Inn. “I like the staff here, and they are very involved in their community,” she said.
“They are always looking to give back. There are lots of home-based businesses here today, and we are supporting each other,” said Minoso. “It is a blessing.
“The fact that it is free, the kids eat free, they give them a stocking of goodies, what better way to fortify the community,” she continued. “And it’s another way of them helping with our income.”
Chrissy Harris said, as she purchased a memory wire bracelet as a gift to check off her list, this year was her first attending the festival and she was out doing Christmas shopping for the day.
“This was one of the hardest ones to buy for,” she said as she handed a check to vendor Patricia McRae of Love Valley, who also was at the festival for the first time.
McRae said she learned of the festival through a poster she saw while visiting Raffaldini Vineyards. “I do about a dozen shows a year, so I called to find out about it. I told a friend with Cabo Winery in Concord, and he’s in the other room,” she said of the wine tasting room.
Matt Delano, assistant general manager of the Fairfield, estimated 700 people came through the festival during its six hours, with 300 kids visiting Santa. “I think it went really well. We had a great crowd. The weather was absolutely wonderful,” he said.
“I’m honored to serve the community and to have everyone come out and visit us,” he said.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.