Activities for children, including musical performances by students from local schools will be spotlighted at the 2011 Mar Vista Fall Festival at Mar Vista Park, beginning at 10 a.m.
Sponsored by the Mar Vista Community Council, the 13th annual festival will also encourage attendees to recycle as part of a “Leave No Waste” campaign.
“Our Children, Our Future,” is this year’s theme, and a variety of family-oriented entertainment will be a large part of the festivities.
“I have a child, and she is definitely our future, and I’m in contact with children in Mar Vista all the time and they’re wonderful,” Mar Vista Community Council Chair Albert Olson said. “They’re what festivals should be about.”
Olson said the lineup of activities for the festival ties directly into the event’s theme.
“We have a full day of entertainment that consists for the most part of larger groups from our community schools,” he said. “It’s a day of kids, and we’ve been gradually trying to turn the entertainment into a kids/schools feature, and I think this year we’ve finally done it.”
Activities performed by and for children will take center stage at the festival, including live stage entertainment, a silent auction and arts and crafts.
Several local schools will have a musical presence at the event. The Mark Twain Ringers, the Windward School Jazz Ensemble, the Windward Madrigal Singers, the Mar Vista Elementary School Chorus and the Grand View Boulevard Elementary School Drill Team and Dance Group will perform throughout the morning and afternoon.
Mar Vista Farmers Market Manager Diana Rodgers is this year’s festival honoree.
“It’s really become like a community square for Mar Vista, and Diana has played a tremendous part in cultivating that community spirit,” said Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who will introduce Rodgers at the festival. “It’s a very family-friendly venue.”
Olson also credited Rodgers with helping to establish a place where a variety of community organizations and food and produce vendors can interact with the public in a festive, open-air atmosphere.
“Diana is very deserving of the honor and certainly a person who has made the farmers market just an integral part of the Mar Vista community,” said the local council chair. “We couldn’t think of a better person.”
Rodgers, who came to the market approximately six months after it opened in 2006, is credited by many for helping transform a three-block stretch of Grand View Boulevard into a gathering and meeting place for shoppers, politicians, community organizations and families from neighboring communities.
“I’m very surprised and honored” to be named as the festival’s honoree,” Rodgers said in an interview days before the festival.
The farmers market also has a number of activities geared toward children. It sponsors an artists workshop each week for children, donates produce to the Neighborhood Youth Association for its after-school program and events such as the Halloween Festival and D’a de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2).
The Neighborhood Youth Association, located a few blocks away from the farmers market, offers after-school enrichment activities for elementary, middle and high school students.
“We also have a Valentine’s Day concert in February,” Rodgers added. “We’re very kid focused; we want to educate, we want to provide fun and a ritual so that they keep coming to the market as they grow up.”
Olson agrees. “Her farmers market is for kids,” he said. “She always has that in mind, and since families come here, that means that children come here as well.”
Rodgers realizes that the farmers market has become more than a place to shop on Sundays for fruit and produce.
“I call it a transient town square where the town comes down on Sunday to meet and greet each other and I love it,” she said. “My job has been to be a facilitator and a steward, but I couldn’t have done it without all of these people who are here to champion this whole cause, and it’s so cool.
“This is the community market and the community should be using it as such,” Rodgers continued. “I like to keep that in mind and create platforms that are relevant to the farmers market and to the community.”
Mar Vista has gained a reputation citywide as a leader in sustainability, and members of the community council’s Green Committee will be at the festival encouraging attendees to recycle all of their waste.
Committee member Jeanne Kuntz said they were aiming for a “Leave No Waste” event but now they will be resorting to a Plan B of sorts.
“(The festival) will be a consciousness-raiser for letting people know that recycling is important,” Kuntz said. “The park will be providing extra recycling bins for the festival and we are strongly encouraging people to bring their own containers and water bottles.”
Rosendahl, a Mar Vista resident who comes to the market every Sunday to meet with constituents as well as purchase greens and vegetables, pointed out that Rodgers has been instrumental in helping to foster Mar Vista’s reputation for green living by providing a forum for the Green Committee at the farmers market.
“Diana really embodies the spirit of community that we have in Mar Vista,” the councilman said.
Another festival feature that will combine sustainability and children will be the “Trashion Show,” with the goal of bringing awareness to the amount of trash that the public generates on a daily basis, said Alivia Hunter, an organizer for Los Angeles Costume Swap.
The organization, whose mission is to introduce “affordable, fun, green, and healthy events to the community,” was at the farmers market Oct. 9 to stage a costume swap at “Green-o-ween.” Adults and children were given the option of exchanging a used, clean costume for a new one.
“Our idea is to make a costume out of the things that the public throws away every day like phone wires, (computer cable) wires, wrappers, anything like that,” Hunter explained. “Be creative and have fun with it and also bring awareness that every tiny bit of trash adds up.”
Hunter encouraged all who attend the festival to create their own green costume. “Wear it with pride, and have a lot of fun making it,” she said.
Prizes will be awarded for the best “Trashion” costume.
Kuntz said the Green Committee’s goal at the festival will now be “to educate and inspire” sustainability through recycling.
In addition to the children’s activities, there will also be a family yoga feature as well as food vendors. Proceeds from the silent auction will be used to cover the festival’s expenses and the continuing physical improvements at the Mar Vista Recreation Center.
Mar Vista Park is at 11430 Woodbine Ave.
A calendar of the festival event’s can be seen at:www.marvista.org.