HomeGrown fills Third Street in Marysville

MARYSVILLE — Marysville’s 25th annual HomeGrown street fair packed Third Street with artists, craftspeople, food vendors, producers of farm products and families Aug. 13-14.

Children of all ages were drawn to Carla Simbulan’s do-it-yourself tie-dye tent, as she guided tiny hands in tying off white clothing items and applying rainbows of colors to them.

“When we moved from California to Washington, I was asked where my kids got their tie-dye shirts,” said Simbulan, who turned her hobby into a business more than 20 years ago.

Simbulan’s children now have small children of their own, who were happy to help out their grandma at the12th HomeGrown she’s attended.

“I like HomeGrown,” said Simbulan, who currently lives in Kent. “There’s a lot of smiling faces and it’s extremely friendly. I’m still learning new color combinations from these kids that I never would have come up with myself.”

Donna Larson was one of the members of Northwest Fired Arts who helped children paint and stamp their own ceramic tiles. Although Larson lives in Marysville, this was Northwest Fired Arts’ first year at HomeGrown, and she reported that they remained busy throughout the event.

“Our group’s members come from as far off as Bothell, Kirkland, Camano Island and Everett,” Larson said. “We’re a nonprofit group that’s devoted to keeping ceramic art alive, and most of us have been doing it for 30 years or more. The joy it gives other people is so exciting to see, as they create art that they didn’t think they had in them.”

Monroe’s Kevin Crowder was a fellow first-timer to HomeGrown who, like many of his peers, heard about the event through satisfied vendors. He echoed their positive assessments and plans to return next year. His “Rusty Stuff” artwork has drawn stares for fashioning frogs, flowers and dragonflies out of recycles metals for the past year and a half.

“Every Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. to midnight, I put the kids to bed and weld rebar out in my shed,” Crowder said. “It’s a hobby gone wild. The frogs are the one item I sell the most of, but every item is made of the same materials, takes about seven to 12 minutes to make and sells for $15 to $40. I’d rather have someone appreciate my work than that I simply make more money.”

Everett’s Carmen Riddle has combined crocheting and recycling in a unique way with her “Love Beneath Your Feet” plastic bag floor mats. Using bags from grocery stores and newspaper deliveries, she creates durable mats that last for years and only require a quick hosing-off to be clean again.

“The small ones use 300 bags,” said Riddle, who began her work close to four years ago. “The most I’ve ever used is 500 bags in one mat. I have 24 bins full of bags at home. I crochet mats for breast cancer awareness with pink bags. I’m looking at making cell phone holders and beach bags next.”

“I’m here because a vendor from Getchell asked me why on Earth I wasn’t going to HomeGrown,” laughed Scott Jenrich of the Frontier Flyers bee farm in Lake Stevens. “They’ve got a really nice setup here. The people are really nice, they’ve got a lot of vendors and the organization just comes together very well.”

Jenrich entered into beekeeping because it allowed him to indulge in a number of his interests, from biology to woodworking. He brought a hive of an estimated 60,000-80,000 bees with him, with 12,000 in the glass observation deck alone.

“While I wouldn’t say that my honey is totally organic, because I can’t control all the chemicals the bees are exposed to within their five-mile radius, I can say that I use organic methods on my end,” Jenrich said. “There’s no chemicals in these hives.”

While father-and-son chainsaw carvers Cy and Timothy Williams of the Tulalip Tribes returned to buzz up some art on the spot, Marysville’s Vic Ledesma and his daughter Kristin were among the area families who took in all the sights.

“The variety of crafts is bigger than I expected,” Vic Ledesma said.

“I’ve always been interested in glass work,” said Kristen Ledesma, when asked her favorite feature of the event.

Fellow Marysville resident Maiza Hall likewise expressed an appreciation for the homemade aspect of the crafts on display. She was joined by family friend Becky Pingree, who had her own children, nieces and nephews in tow.

“The kids’ favorite part was the kettle corn,” Pingree laughed. “I’ve been coming to this for three or four years now, just because it’s close to home, it’s fun to look at crafts and you get to spend a couple of nice days outdoors.”

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