By CAT ROBERTSON
A huge crowd attended the 13th annual Pine Cone Festival last Saturday at Rim Nordic, and the day was packed with pinecone fun. With the various contests and nearly 100 vendors, there was so much to see and do. It was fun for the entire family, including Fido and a very special wolf named Journey.
The Mountain Fifes & Drums Corps kicked off the day as they marched throughout the grounds playing music. Boy Scout Troop 89 presented the flag and Smokey Bear officially opened the festival.
The vendors’ booths lined the trails at Rim Nordic carrying a large variety of items for sale, activities for kids, teens and adults, and informational booths with local fire agencies and nonprofit organizations.
San Bernardino County 2nd District Supervisor Janice Rutherford was honored at the event. “She’s been an amazing supporter of all things in the mountains,” Laura Dyberg, one of the event’s organizers, said to the crowd.
“In recognition of everything Supervisor Janice Rutherford has done for our mountain community and the way she finds new and creative ways to support us, the Pine Cone Festival would like to honor you as our 13th annual VIP. Thank you for coming and for everything you do for us. We really do appreciate it,” Dyberg said.
Supervisor Rutherford took the stage and let the crowd know how much she admires the mountain communities and awarded certificates of appreciation.
“We have so many wonderful people here on the mountain,” Supervisor Rutherford said. “One of the first things I learned is that no one up here does just one thing; everybody in this community wears five different volunteer hats on top of two or three different jobs or companies they own. It’s an incredibly diverse and resilient community.”
She presented certificates to sponsors Rim Nordic, Pali Mountain, Mountain Top Storage and Snow Valley. “Organizations like these are what makes events like this possible,” she noted.
There were smiles everywhere. Sapphire, 18 months old, smiled from ear to ear. She loved seeing the dogs there and wanted to pet them all. After encountering a small dog as she walked along with her parents, she approached an especially furry one that turned out to be a sheepskin rug sitting on top of a tree stump. She was convinced it was a fluffy dog as she petted it.
The sheepskin rug belonged to Jen Reiser, owner of Jen’s Iris, who was at the festival with approximately 250 iris plants. Nearby was Journey, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary’s ambassador. Wolf Mountain, advocates of wildlife, also educates the public. People were surprised to see a wolf there and stopped to chat and take pictures with Journey.
There were some unique items at the vendors’ booths. One couple, who live more than 2,000 miles away, sold unique works of art. A good amount of work required for their products was done by Mother Nature, then they took over and did the rest.
Rob and Kim Martin from Waukesha, Wisconsin, owners of Pine’s Eye Designs, sell wearable pinecone art in the form of necklaces, bracelets, rings and more.
Some of the designs featured at the Martins’ booth had Native American and bohemian vibes with an earthy quality. Many of their pieces glow in the dark, which is a feature that made their booth unique and interesting.
The Pine Cone Olympics and longest and heaviest pinecone contests are always a crowd favorite. This year, for the first time ever, there was a tie for the longest pinecone. Victor Medeiras and Rachelle (last name unknown) both had 18-inch sugar pinecones. Laura Leslie had a coulter pinecone weighing 4 pounds 14.1 ounces. They won terrific prizes worth hundreds of dollars donated by the festival’s generous sponsors.
Dyberg was pleased with the outcome of this year’s festival. She said it was bigger and better than in previous years with approximately 2,000 visitors.
“I want to thank Supervisor Janice Rutherford for attending and being our VIP and also Cal Fire for arranging for Captain Cal to be there in his first Southern California appearance,” Dyberg said.
“This is a great event, due to the efforts of the volunteer steering committee, sponsors and the wonderful vendors who choose to be at the event each year.”
There were many winners, too many to be listed in this article, so for the names of the Pine Cone Olympics and Pine Cone Craft contest winners, photos, a list of sponsors and the steering committee for the festival, go to the Pine Cone Festival’s website at www.pineconefestival.org.