Kids made friends with reptiles during last year’s Mar Vista Community Fall Festival Photo by Roy Persinko

Kids made friends with reptiles during last year’s Mar Vista Community Fall Festival
Photo by Roy Persinko

By Michael Aushenker

New TV shows and ubiquitous pumpkin products notwithstanding, a sure sign of autumn’s arrival can be found in your own backyard this weekend, when Mar Vista and Del Rey hold their annual fall festivals at local public parks.

The theme of Saturday’s Mar Vista Community Fall Festival & Silent Auction at Mar Vista Park is “Neighborhood Living.”

“We’re emphasizing the ways that people can make use of their neighborhoods to fulfill their needs,” festival planning committee chair Albert Olson said of the event, marking its 15th year.

The event includes booths from vendors based in Mar Vista or neighboring Palms, including On the Edge Dance Ensemble, a contemporary and traditional music troupe set to perform at the fair.

This year’s Fall Festival honors Council District 11 field deputy Len Nguyen, who began serving Mar Vista years ago under former Councilman Bill Rosendahl and currently works with Councilman Mike Bonin. Nguyen moved to Palms in 2002, when he was instrumental in founding and organizing the Palms Neighborhood Council, which he headed through 2005.

“He’s a mainstay of the community who you go to when you need to get things done. He does it in a way that leaves everyone feeling good,” Olson said of Nguyen.

The Mar Vista Community Council and several local sponsors are hosting the event, which includes a silent auction to raise money for festival expenses and community needs. Olson, who previously chaired the council, noted that proceeds of last year’s auction helped purchase a portable movie screening system to screen outdoor films at the Mar Vista Recreation Center.

On Sunday, Glen Alla Park becomes the setting for the 11th annual Del Rey Day, an afternoon of food and drink, info booths, live entertainment, activities for the kids and some face time with Bonin, who will be on hand to answer constituents’ questions.

Sponsored by the Del Rey Neighborhood Council, Del Rey Day celebrates the community south of Washington Boulevard, north of Jefferson Boulevard, east of Lincoln Boulevard and west of the 405 — a neighborhood designated by the city in 1903.

The Del Rey Community Jazz Band, led by Danny Meyer, provides the soundtrack as this year’s festival launches the Neighborhood Council’s new Health and Wellness subcommittee, in tandem with the nonprofit MOA Wellness.

Ultimately, both the Mar Vista and Del Rey events simultaneously celebrate — and help culturally and economically stimulate — their home turf.

The Mar Vista Community Fall Festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mar Vista Park, 11430 Woodbine St., Mar Vista.

Del Rey Day happens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Glen Alla Park, 4601 Alla Road, Del Rey.