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New vendors, performers add pizzazz to Grape Festival

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Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:32 pm

From blacksmiths to banjos, a slew of new performers and entertainers will set up shop at the annual Grape Festival this year.

The newest additions to the festival this year come from as far as Sacramento and cater to a variety of interests, from furniture collectors to jewelry customers. Below is a brief overview of the vendors who will be making their first appearance at the Lodi Grape Festival this year.

Whisky Row

Country duo Mike Pereira and Jason Ruffoni formed Whisky Row in 2009 after finishing as a runner up in the Colgate Country Showdown, a music competition in Nashville, Tenn.

Fresh off a West Coast tour, the Kerman band will perform selections from their self-titled debut album at the Sierra Nevada stage from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Gypsy Time Travelers

Husband and wife team Michel Olson and Christy Horne will regale audiences as they combine story telling and the art of blacksmithing.

Having traveled across the globe with their one-of-a-kind show, the duo will be performing between three and four shows over the three-day festival.

Horne said her husband will make between four and 25 items during each show every day for audience members to take home. Items include, lizards, dragons and rabbits.

Bobble Bay

Rocky Mullen will bring his giant, inflatable orbs that will draw people of all ages who want to have the chance to walk on water.

Dubbed Bobble Bay, Mullen’s inflatable ball allows kids get inside and run around. Mullen said so far, his inflatable balls have “been a hit” wherever he goes.

“While it’s a lot of work for 13 or 14 hours a day, you should see the lines that form once people see even one person give it a shot,” he said.

Mullen’s walk-on-water attraction will be available for festival goers all three days, he said.

Clipper Spas

Clipper Spas, the spa manufacturing company out of Walnut Grove, will be on hand to showcase various hot tubs that will be available for purchase.

Their display will include a working spa, water and all, as well as an empty hot tub for customers to view.

“Lodi has always been a good target area and it is really unusual for us to do home shows,” owner Dave Fidel said. “But with the economy down, we decided, ‘Why not?’”

Should customers wish to purchase a spa, Fidel said they can even come out later to the factory to see how spas are produced.

Tim Decker, speed painter

A professional speed painter, Tim Decker is a Florida-based artist who paints celebrity and patriotic portraits live in front of a crowd in under five minutes.

Decker’s show will combine music, art, humor, and audience participation to create a performance event Decker said will have festival-goers talking.

Decker will do four shows a day at the festival, with each performance totaling no more than 12 minutes in length.

Though Decker has yet to decide who exactly he will paint, he said he generally has audience members time him while he recreates popular images of pop- culture icons like John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.

Sierra Tumbled Glass

Modesto-based business Sierra Tumbled Glass has taken recycling to the next level and created custom-made jewelry from recycled glass from local restaurants and bars.

A family-owned business, Sierra Tumbled Glass will offer an array of environmentally friendly products for purchase from stepping stones and fillers, fountain accents, rock garden, concrete aggregate and fire pit fillers to arts and crafts, all made from recycled glass.

Ooglie Googlie Designs

Chris Kidson has re-invented how recycled wine barrels are used. A customer furniture designer from Lodi, Kidson creates tables, chairs and even sinks from wine barrels that have not been used during harvesting.

Featured in the Pavilion, Kidson will showcase some pieces from his business, Ooglie Googlie Designs.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at

Lodi Grape Festival E-edition

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