With Four Free Upcoming Events, Gingerbread Lane at Old Town Artisan Studios Brings the Holiday Season to Life
For families everywhere, making memories during the holiday season is part of the magic, and sometimes those magic moments come when we least expect them. During the holiday season in 2017, Victory Grund, the founder of Old Town Artisan Studios (OTAS) in La Quinta and her husband Richard, visited a close friend at her beautiful home here in the desert. At the end of the festive dinner, the host took Victory to the beautifully decorated Christmas tree standing next to the majestic fireplace and showed her several handmade ornaments decorating the tree. They were made by the host’s daughter who sadly and prematurely passed away in her forties. Each piece had a story. The mother explained each item, and she concluded by saying: “These are my most treasured items.” Not the beautiful home, the distinguished furnishing, the exquisite artwork, but those handmade decorations were the most precious and treasured items for this mother. To someone else, it would be just a heartwarming story for the season, but to Victory, this story presented an inspiration and an opportunity. Victory’s perspective is that we have drifted away from making gifts for each other. We give the gift of technology in many forms and devices, but we lost the value and the meaning of handmade gifts. These homemade gifts last a lifetime, and they bring people back to experiencing the joy of making gifts for each other, and for families, the process creates memories that last forever, and these memories are the true diamonds. Fast forward to the 2018 holiday season, and you can appreciate how Victory, her dynamic team, and volunteers at Old Town Artisan Studios took that heartwarming and meaningful story and turned it into an experience for the entire community to enjoy. This past weekend, supported through a title sponsor donation by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, the Old Town Artisan Studios converted their 3-acre art campus into the first annual Gingerbread Lane – a winter wonderland with multiple trees, trimmed garland, twinkling lights, and a marquee 17-foot tree next to Santa’s workshop all wrapped in the music of the holidays. It was a delightful moment to arrive at OTAS, as the La Quinta Firefighters, fully equipped with two engines, delivered Santa for the joy of all gathered for the first event of the season. Entering the campus was an experience in itself, as it was truly a community event, with first responders, families, volunteers, and yes, the La Quinta High School Culinary Academy students churning out those delicious gingerbread cookies. Santa was greeting kids and kids-at-heart, while acapella songs filled the air, families were painting ornaments to take home with them.
While the team at OTAS initially projected they would host approximately 350 people throughout the day, the holiday spirit brought in well over 750 attendees, certainly a testament to the viability of this new annual family event in the heart of La Quinta. If you missed the inaugural date, fear not! Four more dates will allow you to experience Gingerbread Lane with your family: December 1, 8, 15 and 22nd, so mark your calendars. The festivities will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on all four dates. The event is free to the public, but big and small donations are always appreciated. Generous individual donations have already allowed the scheduling of chartered buses to pick up families of Marines stationed at Twentynine Palms, as well from the YMCA in Mecca and Coachella. All day activities are scheduled to keep you and your family entertained and in the holiday spirit. The future dates will include Santa, seasonal music, delightful dance, and performances by our local youth organizations in the Coachella Valley. Happy Holidays!