All that is old is new again in Burlingame this weekend, as the city’s annual summertime art and music fair returns downtown for another year of music, drinks, dancing and shopping.
In step with the idea of making fresh memories from time-honored traditions, SuJean Dabney will be hosting her booth on Burlingame Avenue at the event peddling repurposed wine wares.
Dabney reworks rounded staves from wine barrels and with the help of a drill press and saw, creates a centerpiece wine glass holder suspended between two bottles serving as bookend mounts.
The Sonoma County resident who spends her summer selling goods at similar fairs throughout the state said she is thrilled to visit Burlingame on the Avenue for her first time.
“I’m really excited about doing the Burlingame show,” said Dabney. “Just the fact that they have beer, wine and margaritas — and it is established. I think it’s going to be a great weekend and hopefully one of those weekends that will be a staple on my festival list every year.”
Dabney, whose goods span in price between roughly $20 to $40 depending on size, said her product is often the end of the line for wood that has been used several times.
Barrels beyond their useful life in wineries are sold in bulk to a craftsman who takes the rounds to build chairs and kitchen features. The pieces considered too small are then sold to Dabney for her work.
“It goes through so many incarnations and ends up as a wine glass holder,” she said.
From an old trailer which she converted to a workshop, Dabney takes the loads of about 500 pieces she buys each six weeks and processes them through a series of drills, cuts, stains and treatments to transform them.
She said she takes great pride is turning pieces that would be cast away into goods customers place as the primary focus of their dining table.
“By the time I sell it to wineries and customers, it’s been sold eight times. It’s a picture of recycling and repurposing,” she said.
Though wineries comprise a substantial portion of her clientele, Dabney said she appreciates street fairs because they grant her an opportunity to meet directly with those who use her product.
“The fun part is when I get to go to festivals and meet the customers themselves and hear the feedback. I get to share with them the story of the wood,” she said.
Dabney goes to great lengths to get the exposure needed to gain that direct client access, as she starts her circuit of traveling to street fairs in April and has only three free weekends scheduled before the end of the year.
She admits her workload is worsened by her reluctance to accept help, but believes she is the only one suited to do it right.
“I’m still a one-woman show. It needs to be done the way I want it to be done,” she said.
Beyond Dabney’s offerings, there will be a variety of other vendors selling jewelry, art, photography, books, textile and more. Plus music of all sorts from different eras and countries will be played as well as plenty of food and drinks for adults and children.
Those interested in attending should expect large crowds, as nearly 7,000 visitors are projected to flood the central shopping district near El Camino Real and California Drive. Due to street closures, parking may be tough so taking Caltrain or SamTrans is encouraged.
Admission is free for the event that runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, and Sunday, Aug. 20. Visit burlingamechamber.org for more information.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105