Hal Lindsley, 88 years young, hardly could spare the time to be interviewed. Lindsley, a glass blower from Lewisburg, had a prime spot Friday, right near one of the entrances of the annual OSU Holiday Marketplace.
A steady flow of traffic surged toward his booth of holiday ornaments and Lindsley, in his 66th year in the biz, was in full-time wrapping and selling mode.
“They want everything, it’s a potpourri,” said Lindsley when asked which items were selling the best.
His customers, however, were free to speak for him.
“We come almost every year,” said Joan Swafford of Corvallis. “We like the handmade, handcrafted items. And sometimes if you are lucky you can meet the artist. Look at this,” she said, pointing to Lindsley’s booth. “And he’s been doing it since the 50s.”
Her father, John Fletcher, was just shaking his head.
“That’s very, very special,” he said. “Rarely do you see someone who can blow glass ornaments like that. It’s very, very special. You don’t even see that in Germany.”
“We love ‘em all,” said Marilyn Schmidt of Philomath as she scrutinized Lindsley’s offerings. Schmidt, who bought six ornaments Friday, already has four other works by Lindsley that she bought when he appeared at a Philomath Frolic & Rodeo event last month.
“His prices are so reasonable and each one is unique,” Schmidt said.
Around the corner from Lindsley was a relatively new craftsman, Joe Lebold. A 1988 OSU economics graduate, Lebold worked for 10 years fixing DSL lines for CenturyLink. When the company offered to buy him out, he used the money to start Joe’s Bigfoot BBQ Sauces.
Lebold, who lives in Manzanita, is in his third year of selling marionberry and marionberry habanero, but this was his first visit to the marketplace.
“Busy, sales are outstanding,” said Lebold, who was wearing baggy OSU athletic shorts. He noted that the habanero has been outselling his award-winning marionberry.
Returning to Corvallis for the Memorial Union show sparked a bit of nostalgia.
“The fog was low and it was kind of cold this morning. Everybody’s got their book bag. It felt like I should be heading to class,” Lebold said.
Dozens of students were using their Friday lunch hour to shop at the marketplace, including sophomore Owen Loughran, a computer science major from Eugene.
“I was just kind of walking by and thought doing some Christmas shopping could be a possibility,” Loughran said, and then headed toward the OSU Creamery booth.
OSU fiscal coordinator Helen Brittain of Jefferson said she has come to the marketplace all five years she has been working at the university.
“You can get such great unique gifts,” Brittain said, noting that she had bought a set of three angel ornaments made out of beeswax. “And they smell fabulous.”
The ornaments were purchased from the booth of Bertie Springer, a 20-year marketplace veteran from Blodgett who was whirling through her booth showing off her use of molds and smaller items such as little honey pots and a beeswax nut and bolt combination.
“I just really like it,” Stringer said of the marketplace. “The people who organize it are really friendly. They always bring in a good crowd of people so the customer base is good.”