Looking forward to ‘Christmas’
Westside potter enjoys being in annual Rock Ledge folk art festival

       When the 26th annual Country Christmas Folk Art Festival starts up at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Friday, Sept. 17, Linda Sabo will be there.
       It's nothing new for the Westside potter. This will be her eighth time at the three-day event, which continues through Sept. 19. But it's also nothing Sabo feels ho-hum about. As one of few locals invited to offer her wares at an event that draws folk artists from across the country, she looks forward to the opportunity not just to sell products but to discover techniques and ideas from other regions.
       For instance, she said, “There's one lady at the festival who does some great work in tin. I guess that's common back East, but it's new here.”
       On the other hand, she enjoys watching the visitors getting atwitter at the sight of deer. “Some vendors out there have never seen deer before,” Sabo said.
       More than 200 folk artists in all will present their works at the festival, with admission proceeds (as is the case every year) going to the restoration and preservation of Rock Ledge Ranch, located in the Garden of the Gods, off Gateway Road west of 30th Street.
       Festival hours are noon to 6 Friday, Sept. 17; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19. Festival entry is free with regular admission to Rock Ledge Ranch any of those days.
       Specializing in hand-crafted items, festival artists in booths will also offer such items as florals, clothing, decorations, jewelry and furniture.
       “I like it because there's real camaraderie among the artists,” said Sabo, who has worked as a potter in the region for 25 years now (the last 9 in the Midland area). “And there's just the excitement of my customers. They can't wait. Some of them I only see at the festival every year.”
       She was also very complimentary of Kathy Read, an Old Colorado City businesswoman who started the event and works as its volunteer show manager. Sabo said read is extremely diligent on behalf of her artists. For example, if it's windy she comes out in the middle of the night to check all the booths for problems. If any blow down - which has happened - Read has backups ready for them to use the next morning.
       “I do 17 shows a year, and there's no other show manager who does that,” Sabo said.
       Sabo makes a variety of pottery, ranging from functional to fanciful. One item she is well known for is miniature teapots. But she said she always tries to bring “surprises” to the fair.

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