Picking just the right pumpkin is a fall tradition for me -- and for many of my readers. I'm talking about the beauties handcrafted by Bay Area artisans, not grown in fields.

The 11th Annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch, which benefits Los Gatos High School, occurs Oct. 5-6. I must say that ogling nearly 3,000 florid orbs artfully placed on the verdant, expansive lawn in front of imposing Los Gatos High is an "over-the-rainbow" sight.

In the East Bay, the Glass Pumpkin Patch on Oct. 26-27 at the Danville Fall Crafts Festival will sparkle in the autumn sunlight, with more than 1,000 pumpkins, from miniatures to those more than a foot high. A percentage of proceeds from this sale will go to a locally designated school.

An amazing array of glass pumpkins will be available at the 11th Annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch in Los Gatos Oct. 5-6. Photo by Shelly Monfort.
An amazing array of glass pumpkins will be available at the 11th Annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch in Los Gatos Oct. 5-6. Photo by Shelly Monfort. ( Shelly Monfort )

Nowadays, glass pumpkins proliferate as design decor. Many of the store offerings are machine-made in enormous quantities and imported from China. The beauties in these two shows, however, are handblown by local artists. Among the South Bay artists is Tom Stanton, often called the "Godfather of Glass." The Los Gatos native is also an enthusiastic graduate of the school, which is known for its superior arts curriculum. Glass artist Gigi Erikson runs the Danville glass patch and creates many of those pumpkins in her Union City studio.

Over the past decade, buying one of these beauties has become a yearly tradition for me. It's similar to folks going up into the mountains to select a Christmas tree. These glass gems, of course, endure much longer and are thought of by collectors as future family heirlooms.

By the way, you'll find more than pumpkins at the Los Gatos High sale. Artists, many of them grads, come up with other seasonal whimsies, such as acorns, squashes, fruits and even some frolicsome chickens. Most pieces are priced from $25 to $100, but some large gourds command as much as $600.

For the record, this yearly fundraiser has provided at least $150,000 to art and other needy programs at this Santa Clara County school.

Details: Los Gatos High School is at 20 High School Court, off East Main Street in Los Gatos. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 5 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 6. Fans may "stake out" their favorites at a viewing reception (no sales) 5-7 p.m. Oct. 4. Admission is free. For more details, call Laura at 408-741-8810.

The Danville Fall Crafts Festival, now in its 22nd year, will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 26-27 along Hartz Avenue in downtown Danville. Admission is free. Details: 925-837-4400.

East Bay shopping

The Great Native American Artifact and Art Show will take place at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on Sept. 28-29.

A glass pumpkin by Tom Stanton, whose work will be featured at the 11th Annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch in Los Gatos Oct. 5-6. Photo by Shelly Monfort.
A glass pumpkin by Tom Stanton, whose work will be featured at the 11th Annual Magical Glass Pumpkin Patch in Los Gatos Oct. 5-6. Photo by Shelly Monfort. ( Shelly Monfort )

Promoter Don Phelps, a longtime collector, says he expects 50 vendors to be on hand offering a large array of antique and contemporary baskets, pottery, totem poles, kachina dolls, jewelry and much more at this specialty event.

The fun occurs at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Building C, Pleasanton. Admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors and free for school-age kids up to high school. Details: 925-837-4996.

Quilt care talk

Whether they are old or new, many of us own handmade quilts. But how should we store, display and safeguard our precious keepsakes?

On Oct. 6, Nancy Bavor -- curator of collections at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles -- takes on these issues in a seminar concerning care and conservation.

Bavor will use examples from her personal collection and others belonging to the museum to illustrate her points. The textiles pro also will discuss practical guidelines on how to enjoy your quilts every day and talk about various washing methods.

The program takes place at the museum, 520 S. First St., San Jose. Hours: 1-3 p.m.

Participants may bring in a maximum of three quilts. Cost: $20 for members, $35 for nonmembers and $25 for seniors. Enroll at rsvp@sjquiltmuseum.org. Learn more at http://www.sjquiltmuseum.org/calendar.html or 408-971-0323, ext. 14.

More shopping news

Since 1961, one of the best places to hunt for bargains in this neck of the woods has been the Echo Shop, 14554 Big Basin Way, Saratoga. Profits from this "clean-as-a-whistle" resale emporium, run by a group of more than 100 eager helpers, support 13 local charities.

The store was recently closed in order to prepare for a Fall Open House taking place 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Sunday. At the bash, you'll get first dibs on new stock.

If you can't make it Sunday, regular shop hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. To learn more or donate goods, call 408-867-3995 or go to www.echoshop.org.

Flight time

If you recall when Eastern, Pan Am, TWA and Allegheny plied the "friendly skies," then take off for the San Francisco Airline Memorabilia Show and Sale on Sept. 28.

Attendees can view the display of posters, advertisements, menus, pins, playing cards, dishes, flatware, swizzle sticks, books and postcards. I have a feeling these just might make your spirits soar.

The fun happens from 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Best Western Grosvenor Hotel, 380 S. Airport Blvd. in South San Francisco. Admission: $5. Details: 408-504-8435.

Lovely lace

The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale is holding its semiannual sale from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 4-5, The liquidation of vintage goods raises money for the nonprofit, all-volunteer organization.

You'll find hundreds of pieces of the delicate material to use for your own projects -- lace-edged handkerchiefs, bedspreads, pillow cases, napkins and table runners. Also be on the watch for jewelry, craft books, magazines and needlepoint canvases.

To get a super deal, head to the Lace Museum, 552 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale. Regular hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, Admission and parking are free. Details: 408-730-4695, or www.thelacemuseum.org.

Kennedy collectors wanted

I'm on the lookout for several collectors of President John F. Kennedy memorabilia. Since this year marks the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I'd like to honor our 35th leader with a story in November.

Please write to me at either address listed below.

Contact Steven Yvaska at steve.yvaska@sbcglobal.net or 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190.