Some People’s Choice vendors report strong sales as festival wraps up

The 21st annual People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts came to a close Sunday, but it was an especially good couple of days for Barbara Talijan.

The six-year People’s Choice veteran, who creates bead ornaments and necklaces, had her highest number of sales ever at the Boalsburg festival.

“This is one of my favorite festivals I do,” she said. “It’s so well-organized.”

Though she goes through 1,500 to 2,000 beads on the average ornament, she has perfected her technique to complete one in about four hours. Her friends tell her the beads leap off the table.

Talijan uses only glass beads and never repeats a specific pattern and color scheme. Lately she has been making only 25 of each of her ornament designs, adding an element of rarity and exclusivity, she said.

Carrying around a camera everywhere has become her reality, snapping photos of patterns on rugs, ceilings and anything else that catches her eye.

It was also a festival of strong sales for Gay Iapalucci, who creates anything from tables and birdbaths to small key holders and bowls out of leaves.

Iapalucci uses the leaf as a mold, pouring a cement mixture on top that becomes solidified before she adds paint and other features.

Normally weeds are a major nuisance for gardening-lovers like Iapalucci, but now she uses them to her advantage in her artwork.

“The weeds in my garden used to be pulled out,” she said. “Now they’re called endangered species.”

When she was a young child, Iapalucci liked to make mud pies, using a leaf or weed to pattern the mud.

Years later she’s able to sell them.

“Here I am at 62 years old still making mud pies,” she said with a laugh.

For Tim Roth, the sales didn’t come as strong, but he still had a good time.

He crafts unique, mixed-media pottery pieces using wheel-thrown stoneware pots without bottoms, and creates the bottom with a chair-weaving technique called caning.

Using different patters, Roth is able to create artworks he said are rare because they take a long time to make.

Sometimes the process can be a lesson in patience, he said.

“I have not yet taken a piece and sailed it across the family room and busted it because I was frustrated,” Roth said. “So I guess I’m doing OK with the patience.”

He only does about four shows a year and hasn’t decided if he will make another trip to Boalsburg.

In all about 180 vendors accompanied the estimated more than 100,000 people in attendance over the four days.