Kings Mountain Art Fair art by Amos Amit

High-quality art, like this piece by Amos Amit, is a hallmark of this end-of-summer event. Photo courtesy Kings Mountain Art Fair

This Labor Day weekend, the Kings Mountain Art Fair is back for the 58th year. Like last year, the event will be held online at kingsmountainartfair.org

The fair will be open online from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 4, 5 and 6. Art from 80 juried artists will be on display. Attendees can shop the art online and chat live with the participating artists.

“We had hoped to be in person this year, but we were not able to do that because of issues still with the Delta variant and community and artist concerns about safety,” said Bev Abbott, Kings Mountain Art Fair executive director. “But we’re excited to be online because it gives our artists an opportunity to have a very broad reach, not just in this area. Our art fair has a wonderful reputation but some people live faraway so they couldn’t attend when it was in person, but now they can attend online.”

The fair is run completely by volunteers. Residents of Kings Mountain started the fair in 1963 after a house fire as a fundraiser to help create a volunteer fire brigade. The first fair was held in a local barn and raised $50. Over the last 57 years the fair has grown and now includes artists and attendees from all across the country. It now holds a reputation as being one of the best art shows on the West Coast.

“The thing that makes us unique is that we focus on fine art, created by independent artists,” Abbott said.

Proceeds from the event still support the all-volunteer Kings Mountain Fire Department, which responded to 309 incidents last year. They also worked with Cal Fire during the 2020 CZU Lightning Complex fires and received a special commendation from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

“Our community is dependent on the fire brigade for our safety,” Abbott said. “Our fire brigade keeps an eye on the mountain. They are the first responders, not only for fire, but also for accidents up here or medical crises. Getting donations and funds from our sales is what keeps our fire brigade going and makes it a really robust resource for our community in the redwoods here.”

Members of the Kings Mountain Fire Department volunteer more than 200 hours of their time in training every year and respond to the same emergency situations as paid fire departments in the country.

“We’re really fortunate to have great funding sources,” said Hank Stern, assistant chief. “Most departments are doing ongoing fundraising all throughout the year and a lot of the effort for the firefighters are not only on training and the responses but for the fundraising. This art fair keeps us focused on what we’re doing.”

Funds from the art fair have enabled the fire department to obtain high quality fire equipment. They were recently able to service a new engine that can transport up to six firefighters.

“The fire department really does support all of the folks that live here but also those who come up to our area to cycle and hike,” said Erin Baumgartner, volunteer. “We’ve certainly seen an uptick (in these activities) during the pandemic, so it’s really wonderful and reassuring to have them here in the community.”

Proceeds from the fair also support programs at the Kings Mountain Elementary School.

“Our community takes pride in offering a good experience to people who come to the art fair to buy art and support our fire brigade and school,” Abbott said. “People volunteer year after year to make this event possible. We work very hard to make it a good experience for the customers and for the artists.”

Emma Spaeth is a staff writer for the Half Moon Bay Review covering community, arts and sports. Emma grew up in Half Moon Bay before earning a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Oregon.

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