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Where arts and crafts meet flora and fauna

Orozco is a freelance writer.

It’s fitting that Carpinteria’s Holiday Arts & Crafts Faire is held on a museum’s grounds. After all, the event -- to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in this seaside town along the southern border of Santa Barbara County -- is about preserving the tradition of artisans showcasing and selling their goods.

“People come here for unique, one-of-a-kind arts products, not for something they can find at Ross,” said David Griggs, curator and director of the Carpinteria Valley Museum of History (956 Maple Ave., [805] 684-3112, www.carpinteriahistoricalmuseum.org).

To that end, the 85 artisans in this 28th annual edition of the show undergo a lengthy application process to ensure they make their own wares, Griggs said.

In addition, the art pieces -- whether jewelry, wooden toys, quilts, holiday ornaments or oil paintings -- are mostly products of love.

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“If you work it out, probably they are making a $1 an hour,” he said. “It’s a creative outlet, oftentimes a passion, and a vindication when someone buys something.”

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Back to nature

The area’s main industry is agriculture, and an innovative take on this is Seaside Gardens (3700 Via Real, [805] 684-6001, www.seaside-gardens.com), a nursery/demonstration garden/retail center with displays from around the globe.

Along Via Real and Highway 192 are orchid farms, greenhouses and other flora-related businesses. The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (nrs.ucop.edu) offers flora and fauna in an estuary habitat.

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Food and drink

Giannfranco’s Trattoria (666 Linden Ave., [805] 684-0720) started an upscale dining renaissance, and its next-door neighbor, Sly’s (686 Linden Ave., [805] 684-6666), is the newest kid on the culinary block. At Corktree Cellars (910 Linden Ave., [805] 684-1400), customers are encouraged to linger over the fancifully named flights of wine.

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