Once Upon A Toe: Rings Created Especially for Your Toes

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The Original Toe Ring of Northern Californa    


RING AROUND THE TOE GRABS IMAGINATION: Thousands clamor for toe rings as line extends to as much as a 90-minute wait

Gilroy — Fashion trends by their nature come and go. Anyone who ever wore parachute pants or friendship bracelets will remember. But something new was tickling the fancy of Gilroy Garlic Festival visitors who were looking for a little something to help them stand out.

Toe rings, hundreds of them on hundreds of little toes, were everywhere — and you only had to look down to see the shiny things. Colored silver and gold, engraved, braided or beaded, or for those who would wear nothing less: 14kt gold for $25. "It's something that's different," said Eric Todd, 29, who just moved from Colorado to Pleasanton. And unlike a chain or bracelet or earrings, "it's a little more intimate," he added. Todd attended the three-day event at Christmas Hill Park with his girlfriend, Jennifer Thompson, of Walnut Creek, who bought three rings for her second toe, the most common toe for toe rings. But does fitting those rings on a person's small appendage hurt? "No, it doesn't hurt anything compared to what I put on my fingers," said the 26-year-old Thompson, who was encouraged to learn she could wear it just about anywhere.

"You can do just about anything with the rings, including swimming and running," said Robin Cohen, the 28-year-old proprietor and full-time ring fitter for her traveling business, Once Upon A Toe.

So there they were, men and women, grandmothers and granddaughters — with toes of all shapes and sizes — proving just about anyone can get a toe ring. Said Cohen who worked non-stop for three days, "we custom-fit with over 50 sizes."

The toe rings were so popular this year that lines for the three days were sometimes more than 40 deep and a 90-minute wait. "Bus drivers on their way to Gilroy were telling their passengers to get in line early to beat the rush," said Daren Lowman, 29 (Cohen's boyfriend), who said their next stop was the California Dry Bean Festival in Tracy. "People are having parties in the community as a result of the Festival and toe rings are all the talk of the party."

"It's grown like wildfire," said Cohen, who didn't seem worried that toe rings might become too popular. "You can keep a good idea a secret."

The Dispatch
July 27, 1998