Square Stage




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A quilter in the neighborhood saw a kit for a beautiful sea lion quilt. She ordered it, not realizing that it required a type of quilting that she does not normally do. Furthermore, with more than 50 tiny pieces—some no bigger than a nail clipping-- it was intricate and complicated. Disappointed, she donated the kit to Fabrications at Pilgrim Place. There, one of our intrepid quilters saw it and thought: “I’ve never done this, but I can try.” So she did. When the quilt was finished, she posted it on the Pilgrim Place ETSY shop. It sold quickly – to the very woman who had donated the kit in the first place! Karen Lebacqz, resident



The first Pilgrim Place festival for Wendy and me(2002) took place during a record-breaking series of storms. It started to rain Thursday morning and never let up until Saturday night. These rainstorms were not just drizzles or gentle showers. Every hour’s unrelenting deluge was a month’s normal supply.

Being a young seventy two year old eager-beaver, I wanted to make my mark on this annual event, and assumed that the Festival leaders, recognizing my importance, would offer me an outstanding public role. So I went to Russ Becker, facility chair, and said. “Here I am. This is your lucky day.” Russ replied; “Come back in about an hour and I will assign you a job using your obvious talent.”

So an hour later I braved the elements and showed up at the festival building ready to work “I’m here Russ, lay it on me,” whereupon I was handed a broom. “A broom?” “That’s it” said Russ—“a broom.” I was deflated. What important job was I to do with a broom?

That year the committee had purchased a series of white canopies. It turned out the ceilings sagged just enough that the torrents we were experiencing produced regular gallons of water whose weight bent the metal poles supporting the canopies. What could be done? Somebody had to be dispatched each hour to dump out the accumulation, and that took a long broom handle! Here was my initiation to the festival. Every hour for the next day and a half I made the rounds dumping the water with my broom handle. Sometimes the most humble tasks can make a difference. The festival depends on the tasks each one of us must do.  Charles Bayer, resident


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For 15 years I was the CEO and janitor of the Coffee Shop at Festival.  At one point the Festival Committee strongly suggested that I do something to shorten the lines at the cashier's table.  I suggested that we make a large sign posted in a visible place that gave the nutritional value of the donut, since that was our most popular item.  Well, that did not fly.  (What we did was raise the price of the donut from $0.75 each to $1.00, facilitating the cashier's calculations--and making more profit!)

We sold enough donuts in the 2015 Festival that if you consider each donut to be one inch thick, by placing one on top of the other, it would make a stack 98 feet high.  Now, that is a lot of bad nourishment!   Stanley Moore, resident


Entry Gate on Festival Day Two at Pilgri

Those who endured it will never forget it, nor do they ever tire of telling about it.  “The Year It Rained” is all you have to say and those who were here recall, those who were not still can’t believe it.  The year was 2004.  “There is a possibility of rain,” reports agreed but at best only enough to keep the dust down.  Not so, we were soon mired in mud!  Rental tents and our own tarpaulin canopies were really designed for shade, none of them protected Pilgrims, our products or carefully arranged sales tables from being swamped.

Some booth coverings collected water in overhead lakes that leaked, others repeated gave way in cascades making all the area an inland sea. 

Pilgrims and hearty community volunteers tried every way to protect our wares and each other, but the rains – so valuable to Southern California – persisted throughout the first day, eased up a bit over night and resumed their torrent of challenge well into the second day.

Disaster.  But one that brought out the best in most everyone.  Many guests tried to shop, and some were even willing to eat cold and wet fare at the Food Court.  Children splashed in puddles and some adults joined them in the muddy fun.  But by the end of the second day things were truly awash, but no amount of rain could squash the prevailing missionary spirit.  In fact it proved to be catching.  Not only did community people come to share in our efforts, they purchased many things they really didn’t need just to help us out.  And this continued all the next week as Festival was being put away for the year. Dozens of people came to help us do that and many of them added donations to the coffers. 

Everyone who was there that year has their own story, but one very special contribution is wistfully recalled by Pilgrims and staff alike.  It’s the Claremont Girl Scouts and sweet Brownies who appeared midweek with a special gift of funds from their very own “we can help too” efforts that came with their promise to come again next year. Ron Evans, resident


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Glue-In, a creative activity for children, is a long-time favorite booth at Festival.  Each child is able to choose from a large variety of household ‘throw aways’  to design and construct  whatever they choose on a 9 X 12 piece of sturdy cardboard.   Spending time with imaginative and creative children brings enthusiastic volunteers back to help out in the booth.  Some have been volunteering at Glue-in for over 30 years.   The following are some of their stories:

A caring staffer looks each entering child in the eye and, stamping their hand with OK assures them “You Are OK”, leading one family to report that their difficult child became a model boy for weeks afterward. 

A teen, going off to college, admonished his parents “Don’t throw away my Glue-In !!

An art major in college credits her inspiration to participating in Glue-In as a child.

Encountering a child proudly caring his finished project, one volunteer complimented him and asked “Can you tell me about it “ The  boy replied “It’s a Water Purification Plant” and continued to explain in detail just how it worked.  What might have appeared to be only toilet paper rolls and pill bottles was actually an elaborately designed model.   

The same question brought a variety of answers such as:   A space station,   A Bear’s cave, A flower garden,   A birthday cake for my mom.    And, maybe best of all, “I have created a masterpiece”  

Pat Clark, resident