La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market holds Harvest Festival to celebrate 14 years
By Ashley Mackin
The La Jolla Open Aire Market held a Harvest Festival on Oct. 28, 2012 to mark 14 years in business. Some 160 farmers and vendors sold their wares that day with lots of games and contests to entertain shoppers of all ages.
The market was created as a fund-raiser for the science, music and gym programs at La Jolla Elementary School, which houses the market on its campus at Girard Avenue and Marine Street. Funds are also used to pay for librarians and school nurses.
Founder/operator Sherry Ahern said the market has evolved quite a bit over the past 14 years.
“When it started I had 14 farmers and one artisan … Now there are 160 vendors,” she said, noting that all 14 original vendors still participate. Ahern also said the market has physically expanded by 30 feet to accommodate more vendors, though only those that meet the market’s needs are included.
Ahern said shoppers who frequent the Sunday market don’t only want food items, “They want everything.”
Marketing representative Julia Kaplan said it’s this varied selection that makes the market unique. “We’re the first market to introduce an artisans’ section, and because we’re in La Jolla, we have many tourists year-round who don’t necessarily buy produce, but they still come and shop and eat in our diverse food court or have a massage and listen to live local music,” she said.
Kaplan said in addition to the market, there are Family Fun Days on the third Sunday of each month.
“We have playgrounds with two playground structures and an open grass field, so it’s really a very family environment. It’s a place where kids can come and run on the grass, bring a soccer ball, or play on the structures,” she said.
Ahern said that in addition to helping the school, “we get a wonderful feeling to know the market is helping so many people; it helps the vendors and it helps the farmers.”
La Jolla Open Aire Market
• When: Every Sunday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Where: Corner of Girard Avenue and Genter Street in La Jolla
• Website: www.lajollamarket.com
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