Around town with Allison: Let’s get crafty! A weekend at West Coast Craft

Allison Fong/Staff

For many people, their favorite time of the year is either Christmas, summer or anytime that isn’t midterm season. For me, it’s West Coast Craft, or WCC, season. Why? Well, the answer’s simple — where else is it socially acceptable to gallivant in my mules while being overcaffeinated in a warehouse where I’ll arguably spend all of my life savings? Nowhere.

A biannual event hosted at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, WCC has been blessing the Bay Area with all of its artsy goodness for five years. An event devoted to highlighting artists and designers who truly emulate what it means and feels like to be on the West Coast, WCC is where the party’s at! Be ready to spend mad money here because you’ll literally want to buy everything. Whether you’re looking for some new home decor, clothing, jewelry or gadgets, you’ll definitely find something to suit your needs at WCC. And maybe even more.

Admission is free, so there’s no reason you can’t attend. Parking is kind of a mess, but as with anything, it’s important to be patient. You never know — a parking spot might just pop up. Keyword: might. While there’s a parking lot and residential parking, if driving in the city gives you as much anxiety as it gives me, public transportation is also an option. If you take BART into the city and Uber or take the bus to the venue, you’ll be good to go!

Every year, there are a couple stalls that I have to visit. Although the booths change from each event, I can depend on a couple to always be there. Aleksandra Zee and Katie Gong, both Bay Area woodworkers, always amaze me with their mesmerizing pieces. First Rite Clothing, Only Child and OZMA are also some of my favorite clothing brands at WCC. And even though I have my favorites, I always discover something new at WCC.

I could honestly spend hours roaming around to the different stalls and exploring all the goodies that each of these artists has to offer — and I really do mean hours. I average about four hours at WCC every time I go. Why so long? Well, the first hour, I’m making a quick trip around every stall to see what’s out there. Then, I go around once more to the stalls that stood out to me and conduct a more in-depth analysis. After that, I keep walking around having many MWCCC (mid-West Coast Craft crises) as I try to decide if I want to make certain purchases — aka deciding whether or not I can afford to do so. 

As a seasoned expert (not really, but let’s just pretend that I am), I’m going to give y’all a couple quick tips because it’s important to go into WCC with a strategy:

  1. Make a goal: Go in with a list of things that you’re looking to purchase or makers you want to visit. This will decrease your chances of making spontaneous purchases and help you stick to your goal.
  2. Go on a walk: Take a quick lap around to all the booths to check out what’s going on. You don’t have to buy anything — just take a peek. You never know — maybe you’ll find something new!
  3. Ballin’ on a budget: Practice self-control by setting a budget for yourself. It’s super easy to get carried away at events like this. Trust me on this one.

WCC is where I go to live my best life. Walking around each eye-catching booth with a nice cup of Canyon Coffee makes this experience extra special. Besides a plethora of artists, there are also some fab vendors who sell food, so there really isn’t any reason to leave. I mean, hundreds of booths, stylish doggos, great coffee and an amazing view? You’ll know where to find me. 

Allison Fong writes the weekly blog column on places and activities to try in and around Berkeley. Contact her at [email protected].