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The Mar Vista Fall Festival: Doing it For the Kids

The title of this year’s festival is “Our Children, Our Future” and some 2,000 - 4,000 people are expected to turn out to Mar Vista’s biggest community event on Saturday at Mar Vista Park.

The Mar Vista Community Council is pulling out all the stops this year to put on the biggest event on Mar Vista’s calendar – the Mar Vista Fall Festival, which will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the park.

Dozens of booths from arts and crafts to business and community information booths will be on display, there’ll be plenty of entertainment, great food and more than enough activities to keep kids and kids-at-heart occupied. That’s not surprising given that the title of this year’s festival is “Our Children, Our Future.”

Sponsored and run by the Mar Vista Community Council and manned by a slew of volunteers, MVCC Chairman Albert Olson told Patch, “We sat around and talked about what the theme should be for this year. And we realized that [in the 13 years we’ve been holding the festival], the most important part has always been about the children, so that’s what we decided to do.”

While Olson said that the festival always draws plenty of families with children, this year organizers have gone out of their way to incorporate kids into the programmed festivities. Five local schools will be part of the day’s entertainment schedule, including the Mark Twain Bell Ringers (who have been invited to perform in London for the 2012 summer Olympics); the Mar Vista Elementary School Chorus; the Grand View Boulevard Elementary School Drill Team and Dance Group; and Windward School’s Jazz Ensemble. 

There will also be a slew of kid-centric activities including bouncing castles, face painting and games, and local kids band, , will also be performing.

Planning for this year’s festival began three months ago and Olson said he’s been amazed at the strong response from sponsors in the community who want to be a part of the festival, which he anticipates will draw somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 people from around the Westside.

“The festival is actually similar to the  [Mar Vista] Farmers’ Market in that it draws people from the neighborhood but also from Venice, Santa Monica and Culver City,” he said.

And speaking of the Farmers’ Market, this year’s festival honoree will be Market Manager Diana Rodgers.

“Choosing to honor Diana was a no-brainer,” Olson said. “She’s been such a vital part of our community for the past seven years. The market has gradually become the focal point of what we consider to be our community center due in large part to the way she has guided it.”

Olson said he’s been to plenty of other local markets but the Mar Vista market is “very different. It seems to be focused on creating an environment where people want to come and just enjoy each other’s company, and it’s really been [Rodgers’] vision that made that happen.”

Rodgers will be honored on the main stage and will receive her award from Councilman Bill Rosendahl at 1 p.m.

The highlight of the festival will be the silent auction, Olson said.

“That’s really our main fundraising aspect of the festival. The monies raised go to defray the expenses of running the festival, but given the large number of sponsors this year, most of those costs have already been covered.”

The rest of the funds will help to refurbish various things at the park, Olson said. “There’s talk of a large scale remodel of the park next year,” he added.

In keeping with Mar Vista’s environmentally conscious status, the festival has also been billed a “Leave No Waste” event.

“That’s also very much a part of our goals for the festival,” Olson said. “While we can’t control the event completely, we hope people will realize that what you do with your trash is important and our aim is to create the least amount [of trash] possible.”

MVCC Green Committee Vice Chair Jeanne Kuntz has been at the helm of the Leave no Waste drive.

“We’re asking people to make a point of choosing what things they wish to recycle,” Kuntz told Patch. “People can choose to bring their own bottles from home that they can fill with recycled water. They can also bring their own reusable bags, forks, spoons, containers and cloth napkins.”

The park will also be providing additional blue recycling bins, which Kuntz said are being dropped off by the City of Los Angeles, and vendors have been reminded to bring compostables to the park.

Kuntz has also hit on the unique idea of having all the volunteers at the festival wearing blue armbands with the word “recycle” written on them.

“It’s all about raising consciousness and inspiring and reminding people about [recycling] - something they already know about,” she said. “We’re actually looking forward to examining how the waste disposal goes this year and seeing how we can use that to do more next year.”

Ultimately, the festival is all about people having a good time, Olson said.

“That’s what brings people back each year. Having them return is how we are creating a tradition of community involvement. We want to convey the idea that the festival is really a celebration of the spirit of Mar Vista and that the children are the future of Mar Vista.”

 MAR VISTA COMMUNITY FALL FESTIVAL ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE

Tony Solomon, Master of Ceremonies

Laura Fuller Presents Family Yoga - 10:00 a.m.

The Grandview Blvd. Elementary School Drill Team & Dance Group - 10:30 a.m.

DidiPop - 11:00 a.m.  “Taking children on a musical journey, and inspiring parents along the way”

Mar Vista Elementary School Chorus - 11:30 a.m.  Katherine Williamson, Director

The Mar Vista Rec. & Parks Talent Show Finalists - 12:00 p.m.

The Mark Twain Ringers - 12:20 p.m. Ron Thiele, Director

Welcome - 1:00 p.m. Councilman Bill Rosendahl

                Festival Honoree Diana Rodgers

The Gazelles - 1:15 p.m.

LA WuShu Academy:  Martial Arts Performance - 1:50 p.m.

Windward School Advanced Jazz Ensemble - 2:20 p.m. Bruce Eskovitz, Director

The Ghouls - 3:00 p.m.

Trashion Show – LA Costume Swap - 3:30 p.m.   
 

For a complete list of all the sponsors, vendors, booths and silent auction items, visit http://marvistafallfestival.blogspot.com

Sherri Akers October 14, 2011 at 01:55 AM
I can't wait for Saturday! The festival has an amazing cross section of fun, shopping and eco education. It's going to be a great day! Can't wait to see all of the kids performing.
Susan Keirn October 14, 2011 at 07:13 PM
What an amazing job this committee has done. I think this has to be the largest cross section of community involvement ever! Thanks to all.

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