Tammy Rosson-Wheeler never thought an eclectic holiday market such as her Jingle Fest would explode into an event attended by thousands at Central Park, just a year after its inception. But it did.
Rosson-Wheeler, the owner of Strawberry and Fig – a local clothing store that now operates as an event organizer – said Jingle Fest was started to be a small boutique. The event was held last year at the Valencia Country Club, but Rosson-Wheeler said the turnout was too big and she knew this year, she’d need a bigger venue.
“[Strawberry and Fig] started off as just clothing, but it’s gone on to being an event organizer,” said Rosson-Wheeler. “So the first one was at the country club and we had a line that literally wrapped around the building. So I needed a bigger location this year. So this is, like, completely magnified from what it was.”
The event was huge – featuring 230 local vendors, a stage with live music, a dance floor, classic cars on display, and a chance for kids to meet Santa Claus – who came with a full-sized sleigh.
Rosson-Wheeler said she wanted to feature an event that had an artistic flair, something eclectic and “outside the box.” Many vendors had hand-made or woven clothing, jewelry, unique pastries, ornaments made from silverware, and other oddities and treats.
One of these vendors was Kim Winberry, who designs skateboards. Winberry’s boards are painted with vibrant and contrasting colors that depict sea creatures. She said her inspiration came purely as a creative – having never ridden a skateboard nor gone scuba diving. It was also a pragmatic way for Winberry to still create, following a serious injury.
“It’s funny because I just started doing this now. I’m a painter. I paint watercolor, I just started playing with acrylics a few months ago, painting on canvas and whatnot,” said Winberry. “On Sept. 25, I was in Carlsbad doing a show when I had a seizure. I fell and I broke my back. I had to cancel the rest of the shows that I had for the year and I’m a full-time artist so this is kind of a big deal.”
Winberry said skateboards are much easier to transport and lift with a broken back, as opposed to the often heavy pieces of canvas normally needed in her process. Another reason for Winberry’s art is a therapeutic relief from having lost her husband, who died in 2013.
“He had a stroke. He was in a nursing home for two years, kind of in a ‘I don’t know who you are’ state for two years before he passed away. But yeah, you know, art has been, you know, very therapeutic.”
Winberry said since she’s been designing skateboards, her business called “Water plus Ink” has been very successful and she’s grown a repertoire within the skate community, especially in the San Diego area where skate shops are plentiful.
“What I’ve done is I started reaching out to skate shops to see if they might be interested in carrying them. I’ve located a printer to print the deck so that I can have the hand-painted decks printed and then I was also approached by another company that does acrylic wall art in the shape of a skateboard with the bends at the nose,” said Winberry. “So, yeah, I’m gonna continue to do it… I just sold four decks to one person, like an hour ago.”
Rosson-Wheeler said bringing local vendors, like Winberry, was the whole goal of the event.
“I’ve been a vendor myself for years. I started with crafts, before I went to clothes. So I know the vendors are very important,” said Rosson-Wheeler. “It is a vendor support. It’s a lot of work to be a vendor. So I wanted to bring in as many people as I can to support local businesses.”