Summer’s soaring temperatures getting you down? The antidote might be a peek into the pleasures of the fall season, a time when the harvest is celebrated with gusto in Napa Valley.
For this refreshing experience, you’ll need to take a brief drive to the scenic Carneros region. Once you come to a gigantic white tent amid the grape laden vineyards, you have arrived at the place where pumpkins abound and Halloween reigns.
Artists and antique dealers travel from all over the country to participate in an event that heralds the harvest and reveres the art of the past.
The American Folk Art Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary at Madonna Estate, 5400 Old Sonoma Road, on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Contemporary artists are creating their own visions of folk art and, in some cases, using both vintage and new to look like old materials, said folk artist and winery owner, Susan Bartolucci. “Like true folk artists and dealers, they are repurposing.”
Well over two dozen folk artists and dealers are participating in this year’s event.
“We have appearances by some artists and dealers that are rare sightings and some that only make limited appearances at festivals,” Bartolucci said. “We have coaxed them out into the spotlight once again.”
“The offerings of art and antiques are one-of-a kind creations and finds,” she said. “Artists and dealers at the festival are set free to create and collect whatever it is their hearts and minds desire, creations and finds that might not be seen anywhere else.”
There will be a special guest appearance by folk artist Jack Roads this year. Roads, a retired art instructor, has created papier mache figures for many years. He uses antiques and “bits of odds and ends” to create his imaginative vignettes. His work is collective by many all over the country.
“He (Roads) is a “master of papier mache and a mentor to many,” Bartolucci said. “This will be a rare appearance and perhaps one of the last opportunities to collect some of his amazing works.”
Selected creations from some of Roads’ collections will be available for purchase.
Each year, Madonna Estate releases its “blood red” HalloVine wine at the festival. This year, Nicol Sayre was chosen as the artist for the bottle’s label.
Sayre has been a participant in the festival since its inception. She specializes in creating dolls that are reminiscent of antique dolls. Each figure is a one-of-a kind creation made by hand, clothed in vintage fabrics and completed with either handmade or found collectible accessories.
“My inspiration for the wine label absolutely had to be doll- and character-driven,” Sayre said. “A dancing lady epitomized the feeling of the Folk Art Festival. She is garbed, ready for the circus and carnival and to celebrate Halloween and the fall spirits.”
“She is kicking up her heels in anticipation of a fantastic show where artists and art lovers convene to share their love of creativity and friendship,” Sayre said. “The only thing else needed was a lovely glass of wine to toast the melding of art, wine and community of kindred spirits.”
Sayre’s attention to detail gives each doll a unique personality and her sewing skills are “extraordinary,” according to Bartolucci.
“Nicole is always looking for the perfect find to use in her next creation. Her favorite period, from which she draws her inspiration, is the mid 1800s.”
“If you purchase a bottle of HalloVine wine, with its collectible label, Nicole will be on hand to sign your bottle,” Bartolucci said. “It is a 2015 pinot noir.”
Since the annual harvest festival, with its emphasis on Halloween, has been so popular, many people have been encouraging Bartolucci to have a second festival that focuses on winter holiday creations.
So, for the first time, Bartolucci will be adding an American Folk Art Holiday Festival that will be held Saturday, Nov. 18, at Lucky Penny Community Arts Center, 1758 Industrial Way, Ste 208.
As it is shaping up, this year is an exciting year for Bartolucci and her family.
“2017 is a special year for celebrations,” Bartolucci said. “Madonna Estate is celebrating 95 years since its founding in 1922 and my husband – family patriarch of Madonna Estate, Andrea, better known as Buck Bartolucci is celebrating his 50th harvest.”
To enjoy the American Folk Art Festival, Bartolucci suggests bringing a picnic lunch or buying food there that is provided by Alexis Baking Company.
There are two separate shady picnic areas with tables outside and decorated tables are set up in the barrel room.
Chocolate from Anette’s Chocolates in Napa will be featured and paired with the tasting of HalloVine wine.
Tarot card reader Marcia McCord will again give private readings.
Admission is $10 per person, and includes tasting Festival 2017 HalloVine as well as samples of a selection of Madonna Estate wines, a complimentary tasting glass and a logo tote.
A portion of the $10 admission fee will be donated to Lucky Penny Community Art Center.