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Mountain Daze

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The Flame of the Game: Juggling aficionado Sven Jorgensen astounds Art & Wine festival-goers with his nimble fingers and profound coordination in the streets of downtown BC Sat.­Mon.

Boulder Creek Art & Wine Fest stands out as one funky musical celebration

By Traci Hukill

ART AND WINE FESTIVALS, in case no one's noticed, are proliferating like bunnies these days. As ubiquitous as the mighty latté, as contagious as the common cold, they sprout like petunias from the town square of every burg, village and borough eager to prove itself a properly cultured neighborhood. You've browsed and sipped your way through one, you've seen them all--right?

Not so fast. Just up shady, sweet-smelling Highway 9, a little mountain wildflower of a festival is about to burst into bloom. For eight years now, the Boulder Creek Art and Wine Festival has culled the best of SC Mountain wineries, eateries, musicians and craftspeople and gathered them up among the redwoods for a weekend of indulgence and dancing in the streets. Stamped with Boulder Creek's quirky mix of hippie funk and lumberjack charm, this weekend's event is more exuberant than ever before, and this time the fun lasts three days instead of two.

That's three days of mouthwatering barbecue by the Wild Iris Cafe, tantalizing Mexican fare by Adelita's and wildly aromatic Thai barbecue from the folks at San Jose Thai.

Thirsty yet? Fresh lemonade, ice-cold brews and an abundance of Santa Cruz Mountain wines ought to tame the most savage thirst. Here's a chance to flit from booth to booth, commemorative wine glass in hand, and sample the gracious harvests of Byington, Storrs, Roudon Smith, Devlin and all the other wineries that have given this region its good name.

Not to be outdone, more than 100 carefully juried local artists and craftspeople will line the streets in booths showcasing their wares. Face painters, mimes, balloon artists and magicians will be roaming about seeking to entertain perfect angels and little monsters alike. A bouncy castle, trampoline and boxing ring round out the attractions for the prepubescent-and-under set.

And last but never least, the entertainment lineup, like a musical image of Boulder Creek itself, spans the spectrum of jams from country to funk. The Old Eddy Ranch Band gets down with a twang, the Blissninnies groove in the most Grateful of ways, the Steve Czarnecki Trio glitzes it up with jazz. Cajun funk, Lady Bo's blues, the ethereal Cosmic Flash and sassy Supersauce put the finishing touches on the weekend of music-making on three different stages.

The discerning festival-goer will dress for temperatures in the mid-90s, slather on sunscreen and drink lots of water. Mensa candidates will carpool up and make their friends negotiate Highway 9 and the three crowded parking lots ($5 for the day). And everyone will have a very, very good time.

The Boulder Creek Art and Wine Festival runs from 11am to 6pm, Sat.­Mon. For more info, call 338-7099.

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From the May 22-28, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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