The South Pasadena Farmers’ Market turned 20 last week — and what better way to celebrate than to hold a big birthday bash?
The Chamber of Commerce and the city co-hosted the event last Thursday at the small park that borders both the market’s regular Thursday site and the South Pasadena Gold Line Station — a party featuring face painting, a scavenger hunt, live classical and rock music performances, presentations by officials and a performance by Harvey the Magician.
In addition, Cadette Girl Scout Troop 3141 offered complimentary mesh produce bags to customers as part of their Silver Award project.
South Pasadena resident and Emmy Award-winning actor James Reynolds served as MC.
“It has continued to thrive for two decades, and it continues to win local and regional awards as the best farmers’ market,” Reynolds said
“The market began with about 12 farmers and vendors,” he added. “Some are still with the market today. The farmers grow everything they sell, and it’s all grown right here in California.”
The market now numbers approximately 30 vendors and 30 farmers, and is open from 4-8 p.m. every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) at Meridian Avenue and El Centro Street.
Seven of the original participants are still with the market, Reynolds said. They are Bill’s Bees of Lake View Terrace, Suncoast Farms of Lompoc, Valdivia Farms of Carlsbad, Rancho Mi Familia of Santa Maria, Venegas Flowers of Fallbrook, Bernard Ranches of Riverside and Nana’s Mexican Food.
“I thank them for their loyalty,” Reynolds said as he introduced their representatives to the audience.
Merchants located along the west Mission Street business district spearheaded the market, and the Mission West Association of merchants sponsored it from 1999 until 2009.
Since 2010, under the original leadership of Scott Feldmann, the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce has managed the market for the city on a contractual basis, Chamber President Laurie Wheeler said.
She said Carole Gallegos, an independent market manager who also runs the Encino Farmers’ Market, has overseen the operations for the Chamber since 2012.
Reynolds thanked Gallegos, Wheeler and Chamber of Commerce Chair Sam Hernandez.
Representatives of State Senator Anthony Portantino and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger presented congratulatory certificates.