Out and About

Mar 5, 2014 10:00 AM by Jeanette Trompeter

Out and About: The Cayucos Sea Glass festival

This weekend people from all over the country will gather in Cayucos to pay tribute to something a lot of people would consider garbage. But when you get Out and About with collectors of sea glass, you'll likely have a whole new outlook to the broken pieces of trash you often find on beach strolls on the Central Coast.

Kiki Kornreich loves taking walks on the beach, especially after storms. She says it's the best time to find her favorite type of sea treasures tossed ashore by stormy waves. "To me it's like an Easter Egg Hunt." she said as she talked to KSBY after one of our recent storms.

She always looked for shells and interesting shaped rocks, but never paid much attention to bits of glass scattered among the sea debris. That was, until she found a piece polished by the journey it took to get here, into the perfect shape of a heart. "Rock piles is where you are typically going to find them." said Kornreich as she cruised the beach in Cayucos. "But I've been walking along where it's just perfect sand like that and found big ol' chunks of beautiful sea glass."

Now she is part of a growing segment of beach dwellers consumed with the hunt for pieces of bottles, bowls and broken glassware tumbled into smooth beauty by mother nature. "If it's sharp I throw it away, because I don't want anyone to get cut on it." she explained as she picked a shard of blue glass with jagged edges she called "young."

Kornriech got hooked about 5 years ago, and her house is now filled with sea glass of all kinds of colors, shapes and sizes. "I love the ones that look like little jelly beans." she said as she dumped out a big bowl of sea glass of mixed colors.

She's also made some great friends on her coastal hunts, and four years ago, they decided to start a festival drawing together people who see treasure in what started as trash. "The thicker the glass the older it is." Kornreich explained.


In the process of putting together the festival, they have discovered hints to history in the little glass remnants they find. "They say it takes about 30 years to get a smooth piece of sea glass. So there's some history about it tumbling around down there. Like this is an old bottle top. This is from before 1850." said Kornreich as she showed off the lip of an old bottle she found at the beach.

The first year of the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival more than 3000 people showed up. They're expecting 6 thousand this year. People comefrom all over the country to share their collections, and their artwork. "I mean people just make really cool things out of little pieces of garbage." said Kornreich as she showed off a few of the art pieces she has made of sea glass.

The festival also offers an opportunity for collectors to track down where some of their treasured finds originated. "We don't want people to bring in more than one piece, but if you have one piece that you want them to tell you what it is, at the Discovery Booth you can bring it to them and they'll tell you."

They were all parts of something once carelessly tossed aside somewhere, broken and battered along the way, but smoothed and softened in the process. And that's part of what draws people like Kiki to the beach in all kinds of weather...the magic of having the journey end at your feet.

The Sea glass festival is this weekend in Cayucos. In addition to all things Sea Glass, there will be live music, beer, wine and almost 40 local food vendors. All proceeds go to the Cayucos Fireworks Fund. For more information, click here.

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