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South Salt Lake Journal

Craftoberfest celebrates fourth year in a growing community

Nov 03, 2022 07:49PM ● By Jesse M. Gonzalez

By Jesse M. Gonzalez | [email protected]

South Salt Lake had its annual Craftoberfest this year, on Oct. 8, bringing together a community of art, music, and craft beer lovers in the heart of the Creative Industries Zone. 

The event consisted of live music, artist booths, food trucks and local craft beer and cocktails. This gave many locals, as well as passing visitors, a chance to see and feel the energy of South Salt Lake’s constantly emerging, constantly growing, arts and crafts community. 

“I would say that the diversity is great, and that people are able to come to one festival and experience many different forms of art at once, from creative local food to music, paintings and clothing,” said Ellie Peterson, who has lived in the Salt Lake area for most of her life.  “Everybody has a happy energy about them. You can tell that everyone is excited to be here.”

The Creative Industries Zone is an unofficial destination that was birthed from the arts organization, South Salt Lake Arts Council, for artists and art enthusiasts committed to keeping the values of the artistic scene in place for downtown South Salt Lake. Craftoberfest is a celebration of such a community, where business owners and folks can indulge in what keeps any kind of community glued: local and craft art.

One artist who has indulged and thrived in the local art scene of the Creative Industries Zone is Carina Barajas.

“I did a barrel last year,” said Barajas, who had been referring to the custom, hand-painted barrels that Craftoberfest features each year to collaborate with the local breweries. “So they asked me to come back. I also did Mural Fest—I helped do the mural on Beehive Distilling.  So I feel like I’m a part of South Salt Lake. I worked for Clever Octopus (Creative Reuse Center) for a long time and then I quit to do art full time.”

Clever Octopus is another nonprofit organization residing in South Salt Lake that recycles used art materials from other local businesses. Clever Octopus has a retail store which sells all sorts of art supplies for teachers, students or other creative community members.

“It’s been really nice. The weather is perfect, it’s a good crowd of people that are interested in art. I love the local food, local breweries and everything. And it’s way bigger than it was last year,” Barajas said. “Creating a sense of community in any way, it just brings people together, whether it’s art or vintage. It’s not just art. It’s people who can show their craft.  Everybody is sharing things, like I’m swapping art with other artists—it’s just a good community of people.”

Barajas will soon be leaving the country to promote her art work in Ireland and France.  She still considers South Salt Lake to be her original stomping ground and has much love for her roots in the local art community.

“I just love the South Salt Lake community. There were people that came to my booth that were fans. It felt really good. They had already bought my stuff before and they were really excited to see me again.  I really haven’t had that happen before, so that was cool,” Barajas said.  “I think keeping these things alive is really important for Salt Lake in general, for the economy and for keeping things local.”

 In addition to the breweries and the artists was a local beverage business called Z Nectar, owned by D. “Sam” Samuel, who started the company using his great grandmother’s 100-plus year-old recipe. “Z Nectar is neither tea or a juice; it’s a hybrid between the two and I don’t know if we have a classification because we’ve been trying to find one, so I would say Z Nectar is Z Nectar. It’s really zesty, it’s really refreshing, and all the ingredients have (health) benefits,” said Samuel, who worked at a booth beside his wife and daughter.

“This is our third event for (Craftoberfest). They invited us,” said Samuel. “It was great!  It was better than last year because last year it was very rainy. The weather was beautiful and there were a lot of newcomers this year. It’s always nice to see people who are moving into a city that is growing, and them having a really positive response to that experience in the city—that was really cool to have that.”