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Happy couple portray gypsies at Lodi Grape Festival; one a blacksmith, one a storyteller

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Michel Olson

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Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2012 7:50 pm | Updated: 7:32 am, Tue Sep 18, 2012.

Christy Horne and Michel Olson pretend to be gypsies. They live in an RV named Florence that is also a museum and European castle. Olson wore a black kilt and wife Christy dressed in medieval garb while performing in the role of Gypsy Time Travelers last weekend at the Lodi Grape Festival.

During their shows at venues like the Grape Festival, Olson — a full-fledged blacksmith — pounds metal to smithereens to create various items as Horne adopts a British accent and tells stories of legendary figures such as Merlin and King Arthur.

Their RV is their home, stage and vehicle. They work no more than 60 days a year, and they seem very happy with what they do.

“We have 23 acres in Angels Camp, but we’re on the road nine months a year,” Horne said.

Olson, 52, was born in Berlin, Germany, but his parents decided to leave the country shortly after the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961. He spent his childhood visiting friends in their European castles, he said.

He ran the blacksmith shop in the Tuolumne County community of Columbia for two years, but he and Horne decided to venture out on their own.

Horne says she had a mid-life crisis when she was 29, and she seems completely happy living the gypsy-style life.

So what do their three grown sons think of their parents’ lifestyle?

“They think we’re weird,” Horne said with a grin.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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