Local bands take the stage at Art and Wine Festival Apr. 23-24

Local bands take the stage at Art and Wine Festival Apr. 23-24

Local bands take the stage at Art and Wine Festival Apr. 23-24
Clayton’s Art and Wine Festival is a major fundraiser for the Clayton Business and Community Association. Funds raised support local charities and scholarships. (Photo by A.J. Chippero)

CLAYTON, CA (Apr. 17, 2022) — After a two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, residents are eager to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the popular Art & Wine Festival on April 23-24.

“Folks are ready to once again experience the joy of gathering together with their friends and family at our event,” says Sandy Johnson, who took over as festival chair in 2019.

“The event will bring much-needed vitality to our downtown businesses and allow the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) to raise funds to donate back into the local community,” adds Vice Mayor Holly Tillman.

Beyond the art (and crafts) and wine (and beer), festival visitors can enjoy Mexican, dim sum, barbecue and teriyaki options.

There’s also a Kiddieland, where Johnson used to sell tickets with her husband Craig, now deceased. “He had a smile and personality that captivated the small children eager to have fun on the inflatables, slides and other activities offered at the event,” she recalls.

Live music

Sandy Johnson shared this photo of her and husband Craig selling Kiddieland tickets at the 2010 Clayton Art & Wine Festival. Now, she is in her second year as chair of the event. (Tamara Steiner photo)

And don’t forget the live music. “This year, we decided to focus on featuring popular and local bands from our own Clayton/Concord community,” Johnson says, pointing to The 151, Shameless, Plan B and The PhD’s.

It takes more than 400 volunteers – students and adults – to pull off the event, which was launched in 1996 by, no surprise, a group of volunteers.

The CBCA (known then as the Clayton Business and Professional Association) went against conventional wisdom and opted not to hire an event planner. The group called upon resident Gloria Utley, who had experience on the craft fair circuit. With fellow volunteers Carlene Honeychurch and Sue White, Utley booked vendors and created a layout for the 40 booths.

“When you finish a show, the artists all review the show. The reviews were so good that we had a hundred booths the next year,” Utley notes.

Funds raised for local groups

Don Fitzgerald chaired the inaugural event – and many more after, while Howard Geller handled the music.

The CBCA ended up raising about $15,000 for community groups that first year; Johnson’s goal for this year is to exceed $125,000.

The ever-growing profit benefits local schools, churches and scouting troops as well as the Clayton Library, Clayton Historical Society, Clayton Theatre Company, Diamond Terrace, Blue Star Moms and more.

The Art & Wine Festival runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, April 23, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, April 24, in downtown Clayton. Visit claytoncbca.org for information on parking and shuttles.

Mark Your Calendars for upcoming events

With restrictions easing, Clayton’s downtown will be bustling with a variety of events in the coming months:

  • Concerts in The Grove. 6-8:30 p.m. Saturdays, May 7-Sept. 10.
  • Clayton Pride Parade. June 25, 10 am. Main Street
  • July 4th. The popular Kiddie Parade is the star of the day.
  • BBQ Cook-Off. July 9-10, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
  • Oktoberfest. Oct. 1-2, vendors, food, oompah music and, of course, a beer garden.
Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer | bevbritton@sbcglobal.net

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.