Taste of success - Morgan Hill Times: Community

Taste of success

23rd annual food and art festival a downtown party from morning to dusk

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 4:30 pm

Several thousand Morgan Hill residents and visitors gathered downtown last weekend to shop, browse, eat and dance at the 23rd annual Taste of Morgan Hill festival.

Festival organizers from the Chamber of Commerce said they couldn’t put a firm estimate on the number of attendees, but noted that the higher temperatures on Sunday resulted in a sparser crowd than on Saturday, the first day of the two-day annual art and music festival.

All in all, the festival proceeded smoothly with the hard work of countless volunteers and chamber staff, chamber director Rich Firato said.

The chamber was pleased with attendance and quality of a new addition to this year’s Taste of Morgan Hill - the Saturday night concert at the Community and Cultural Center amphitheater. That show featured 16-year-old “The X Factor” contestant Austin Corini, a Gilroy resident and former Morgan Hill resident. Corini opened up for Mike Amaral’s California Beach Boys, who Firato described as “phenomenal.”

Corini serenaded the crowd with rousing versions of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” and Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” among others. He signed about 200 autographs after his performance, Firato said.

Crowds were notably larger on Saturday than Sunday at the downtown street festival, Firato said.

Shane Dwight, the closing act on Saturday’s two-stage, all-day lineup of live entertainment, was “a hit,” with patrons on their feet and dancing throughout his set on the Third Street stage.

The festival featured a wide variety of vendors selling arts and crafts, designer clothing, decorations, jewelry, home improvement items and other merchandise, as well as fundraising booths.

Kids’ games and rides, a quilt show, and a classic car show - not to mention an amalgam of fried, grilled and ethnic food - rounded out the festival’s offerings.

Street festival aficionados Kimba and Patti showed off some of the jewelry they purchased Saturday morning from some of the 80 or so vendors in downtown Morgan Hill for the weekend.

“The big decision now is what to eat,” joked Patti just before lunch time, alluding to the food vendors offering a variety of dishes scattered throughout the festival.

The two Gilroy residents, who have been friends for about 15 years and declined to provide their last names, have attended the Taste of Morgan Hill numerous times in previous years.

“One of our favorite things to do is go to art and wine festivals on the weekends,” said Kimba.

They also noted the pleasant weather, with temperatures reaching into the upper-80s with a slight breeze, according to the National Weather Service.

Sunday’s high temperature reached 93, according to the NWS, and Firato said that heat resulted in lighter attendance than Saturday’s crowds.

Some locals attended the festival just to grab a bite or two to eat.

Married couple Frank and Naomi, who declined to provide their last names, walked to the Taste of Morgan Hill from their home. Frank had already eaten a gyro, half of a tri-tip sandwich, and shrimp scampi with rice when he and his wife were looking for dessert.

“We came to support Morgan Hill,” Naomi added.

Also walking to the festival were Dennis and Barbara Palmer, who moved to Morgan Hill last year from Sunnyvale. They went to check out the Taste of Morgan Hill’s annual car show, as the couple are classic car enthusiasts themselves, owning eight restored cars between them.

Barbara, 60, also enjoyed the “nice collection of crafts” available for sale at the vendor booths, and Dennis, 67, planned to stop by a vendor selling residential solar power systems as the couple is considering such an addition to their home.

“It’s nice exercise, a nice day, and a nice mellow festival,” Dennis said.

Retired couple Mike and Bobbie, who were just passing through Morgan Hill in their motor home on their way home to La Mirada, were lured downtown by the classic car show. The car show took place on the southern end of the festival in downtown Morgan Hill, near Monterey Road and Dunne Avenue.

“It looked like a car show at the other end (of the venue) and we found out you have a whole street fair,” said Mike, who was carrying an outdoor pinwheel decoration the couple had purchased.

Some of the vendors used the Taste of Morgan Hill as an opportunity both to sell handmade crafts and raise awareness and funds for charitable causes.

One such example is the “Everyone’s Child” booth, which was hosted by a new local nonprofit that is raising money for a public art project in Morgan Hill that will pay tribute to 2011 murder victim Tara Romero, 14, and encourage peace with a bronze sculpture of the teen.

Volunteers at the booth, including Romero’s mother Annette Nevarez and Lisa Washington, mother of a close friend of Romero’s, were selling jewelry, bumper stickers, wrist bands and other items to raise money and awareness for the project. Washington’s sister, Tanya Welsh, made jewelry for the booth and donated half of the sales to the “Everyone’s Child” project.

“We just want to keep everybody aware of what we’re doing,” Nevarez said.

The car show this year included a special category for 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolets, bringing some first-time competitors to the show from out of town.

Dub Kyle, 75 of Modesto, shows his mint green 1955 Chevrolet as often as he can. He said matter-of-factly that the car, which he rarely drives and transported to Morgan Hill on a trailer, has won “just about every show” he has entered.

Kyle completed the “frame-off” restoration of the car about six years ago. He has two other classic cars - a 1946 Mercury convertible and a 1972 El Camino - but the Chevrolet is his favorite.

“It does everything,” said Kyle, who is retired from his career as the owner of an automobile repair shop. He installed a Corvette engine under the hood, and stainless, “all polished” parts underneath the car.

The car show as a family affair for the Kyles, as Dub’s son Jeff Kyle, of San Martin, showed his red 1959 Corvette at the Taste of Morgan Hill. That car won the “best of show” award in the 2011 contest.

“Dad helped me rebuilt it,” Jeff Kyle said.

The Kyles were joined by friend and fellow Chevrolet enthusiast Mike Castle, 69 of Modesto. It was his first time entering his 1956 Chevrolet, which he has “never” driven, in the annual local car show as well.

He has two other Chevrolets - a 1955 and a 1962.

“It’s from my era,” Castle said.

Morgan Hill police reported only one significant event at the Taste of Morgan Hill. On Sunday, officers had to chase down and arrest a parolee who was intoxicated and accused of theft at the festival, according to Sgt. Troy Hoefling.

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  • WilllaimYancy posted at 3:02 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    "Low income housing I feel is a good start for many and have not heard or seen that many complaints."

  • fredoliveri posted at 1:18 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    fredoliveri Posts: 285

    yancey, people have the right to complain as you show all the time. Low income housing I feel is a good start for many and have not heard or seen that many complaints. Why not run over to Wal-Mart or Target and tell them you want to close down those stores because you personally do not like their wage policy. Let's see how much support you get for that.

  • Dave McRae posted at 1:11 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Dave McRae Posts: 72

    Whats being forgotten is Americans pre world war two had to work a lot more and had much smaller homes. These days everyone complains about lost riches that were really the anomy. The spoils of the war allowed a lot of standard of living. Modern international competition has made complacency a recipe for personal failure.

  • Dave McRae posted at 1:07 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Dave McRae Posts: 72

    Trust me. Walmart pays its electrical engineers high wages. Why is that? Its because. Skilled workers get paid and unskilled workers do not. None of walmarts engineers are on food stamps. Just because the last generation was the laziest in history and squandered all the spoils of ww II doesnt mean their cihdren have a right to earn six figure income with a high school diploma. Its not wal
    arts people dont take engineering in school.

  • WilllaimYancy posted at 9:54 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    It's funny, people are always complaining about how much low-income housing there is in MH. You think those low-income houses aren't being used by people who work part-time and Wal-Mart and Target, because those jobs only offer poverty level wages? Similarly with all the Wal-Mart employees who are eligible for food stamps, and have to go on Medi-Cal because Wal-Mart provides no benefits? I see nothing worth celebrating about Wal-Mart's presence in Morgan Hill.

  • Dave McRae posted at 7:32 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Dave McRae Posts: 72

    Wal-mart didnt drive any jpbs out. Economics drove jobs out. It seems people struggling to get by dont care how much the bag boy is making. They worry about their children and saving for their education. The history of retail and grocery stores in the US is interesting. The next innovation will put walmart out of business. But unskilled workers can be replaced
    By machines and imported workers. The lesson is to learn a skill and keep improving your skills.

  • fredoliveri posted at 9:33 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    fredoliveri Posts: 285

    Wal-Mart and Target, two of our towns largest employers get vilified for running a business and contributing to the prosperity of the community. People who work at these two stores might be grateful to have a job, even if it is part time and minimum wage. I would like to know what business was run out of town by their being here. Oh, I know, Comcast.

  • 1derguy posted at 9:31 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    1derguy Posts: 71

    Thank you Sinaloa for trying to supply free water to the patrons of ToMH. I think the organizers owe you an apology.

  • WilllaimYancy posted at 5:51 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    Yeah, they hire people part-time and pay them minimum wage, then drive all the decent-paying jobs outta town. Wal-Mart is a recipe for poverty and blight in a community.

  • Dave McRae posted at 5:24 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    Dave McRae Posts: 72

    Ans they hire people. A;ways a good thing.

  • Dave McRae posted at 5:22 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    Dave McRae Posts: 72

    It's really popular to bash Wal-Mart. It's easy. It's cheap. It's nonsense. They are a business like any otther. You are free to choose to shop there or not shop there. That's your call.

    But they have a right to exist, and a right to price and sell their goods as they see fit.

    Local small businesse are nbot the be-all, end-all of commerce. They exist because at their size they can best serve their customers.

    Wal-Mart uses every technique they can to cut costs and operate as a low cost option to many families. The reason they can compete is that they have low prices and very tiny profit margins. A small market cannot battle that. So, over time they lose buisness, and often close. That's economics.

    The challenge to a small business is to specialize in something a Wal-Mart cannot do. Otherwise, it's a losing battle. You're just a blacksmith after the invention of the car. You can cry about it, but progress marches forward. Society needs you to do another job now.

    Wal-Mart saves Americans a lot of money and makes a lot of poor families have a better christmas with lower prices.

    I'm not aware of them being anything bad for a community. In fact, they tend to create lower prices for all through competition.

    Free markets, baby. They're cruel on the surface, but they tend to feed you better than any other method of economics.

  • WilllaimYancy posted at 5:05 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    Not buying it. If the residents of a city don't want development, they can put a halt to it. If they're just too lazy to organize and make some noise and put pressure on the city, then they're effectively giving approval to whatever the city does. I know plenty of people who claimed not to want Wal-Mart there, but I don't know anyone who has never shopped there.

  • hypocrisyhater posted at 3:45 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    hypocrisyhater Posts: 234

    No...the city gives half the people what they want, and they give the other half the finger.

    Sort of like the president.

    I don't know of anybody who wanted WalMart to move in.

    I'd like to see building come to a halt alltogether. But the city has other plans in mind, as there are construction delays all over town. They still can't even fix the tiles that keep coming loose on their signature 3rd street project.

  • WilllaimYancy posted at 12:00 pm on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    Couldn't say. I went and perused the membership of the MH Chamber of Commerce, and among its members are Wal-Mart and Safeway. So, apparently, any business operating in MH can become a member, then, if they're a national entity, can employ their resources to gain more influence in the Chamber and drown out the interests of local merchants. I don't know how other Chambers operate, but I find it absurd that businesses who have no ties and no investment in the community are allowed membership in the Chamber. But, hey, the people of Morgan Hill are obviously okay with Wal-Mart and Target driving out small businesses. Give the people what they want, right?

  • hypocrisyhater posted at 11:37 am on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    hypocrisyhater Posts: 234

    Then why are there more and more out-of-town vendors every year?

    I talked to a couple of merchants (local long-time Morgan Hill residents) who claimed it was difficult dealing with the city to get approved for a booth. Yet we had lots of vendors with booths who weren't from anywhere near here.

    Taste of Morgan Hill should be for area merchants only. In my opinion.

  • WilllaimYancy posted at 11:25 am on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    WilllaimYancy Posts: 69

    I'm sure it does, since it's sponsored by the Chamber, and their mission is to promote local businesses.

  • LauraB posted at 10:41 am on Mon, Oct 1, 2012.

    LauraB Posts: 43

    Why is it called "Taste of Morgan Hill"? Does it feature the restaurants in town?