San Mateo Harvest Festival returns with a more "normal" feel

The San Mateo Events Center put on the annual Harvest Festival and this year felt much more traditional compared to last year.

The festival travels to different areas in Northern and Southern California. Due to COVID-19 restrictions last year, many of those festivals were either cancelled or significantly reduced.

This weekend, the events center is expecting thousands of people to walk through its Fiesta Hall. For some, its tradition.

"We like to come every year," said Sandy Wong of Alameda. 

"We did no business, said David Leight, owner of Leightworks Jewelry. "We went down from running hot, then it went south and it maintained that way."

Leight makes light infused technology to create colorful necklaces, earrings, and rings. He says his business took a 40% hit; government paycheck protection programs helped save his business when there was no business. He's happy to sell this weekend.

"It has a good buzz to it," he said. "It's smaller, more intimate, but at the same time it's the best show we've ever had."

Around the corner from his booth, is a winter wonderland of art. It's all hand crafted by Tami Carmody.

"It hurt us a lot," Carmody said of the pandemic. "We were able to survive and get through it and we're glad to be back out and sell."

The festival has a strong emphasis on shopping local and supporting those still hurting from the COVID cancellations.

"I didn't do much of it because I didn't have a place to go," said Carmody. "But now I'm back doing what I love to do."