We’ll always remember 2014 as the year Ojai’s secret finally got out. Over the course of the last few months, the little South Coast artist enclave has been spotlighted everywhere from the New York Times to Condé Nast Traveler and described with buzzwords like “hippie stronghold” and “neo-bohemian cool.” In the rest of the world’s defense, Ojai is going through a renaissance of sorts, ushered in by a young and hungry creative class that’s finding solace in the valley’s crazy beautiful and crazy inspiring vibes.
Among the early adapters to this new wave of Ojai love was Shelter Social Club, the Santa Barbara–based visionary project that helped rethink—and at times, completely remodel—spots like the Presidio Motel, the Agave Inn, and Indy Foodie Award winner Sama Sama Kitchen. With their 2012 takeover of the Ojai Rancho Inn, proprietors Kenny Osehan and Chris Sewell successfully built a hub for the then still-burgeoning Ojai new school, thanks in large part to their annual holiday pop-up gathering, Deck the Halls.
This Saturday, December 20, the event returns to the Rancho grounds for the third year in a row. And trust us when we say it’s going to be one for the books. In addition to its staple S.B. makers like Make Smith, Torchlight Jewelry, Rebekah Miles ceramics, The Lower Lodge, and Tabletop Made, Deck the Halls is featuring a whole new crew of creative faces and goodies. Among the newcomers are Los Angeles vintage purveyor Sam Roberts L.A., who’ll bring with them an impressive collection of hats and covetable wardrobe items. Also on deck is In the Field, the newly established (and jaw-droppingly beautiful) clothing, housewares, and lifestyle boutique that lives just down the road from the Rancho. As far as libations go, there will be plenty of options from Sama Sama, Full of Life Flatbread, the French Press, Kotuku Elixirs, and the Blue Owl. And that’s just for starters. As of press time, more than 40 vendors had signed on to participate.
“Bringing together creatives is a huge part of why I love having a business,” said Osehan. “It allows me to create a platform for gathering all the people that inspire me. Deck the Halls is about bringing together the community of artists we are so lucky to have at our fingertips. It’s a way for me to create an intimate experience for people to gather with their friends and family while exploring what these talented artists are putting out into the world.”