Audubon Center at Debs Park gathers community to holiday event

The center's first Arroyo Seco Marketplace offered a great community alternative to the holiday rush.

Wreath-making with natural materials was one of many activities offered at the Audubon Center at Debs Park's Arroyo Seco Marketplace holiday celebration last weekend. Photo: Sotero Delgado

The Audubon Center at Debs Park its first holiday festival—the Arroyo Seco Marketpace, this past weekend. This community event, in celebration of the holiday season and Small Business Saturday, highlighted the diversity and work of sixteen local artists and vendors from Northeast Los Angeles, and gave local residents the opportunity to celebrate the holidays in a new way. It was incredible to see the community come out and support the wide array of artisans vending at the Arroyo Seco Marketplace—from woodcrafters to visual artists, tea makers to aromatherapy, there was definitely something for everyone at this holiday fair.

From the beginning, the courtyard was bustling with activity. Holiday shoppers came from all corners of Los Angeles to browse the wares of local artists and crafters. 

Lauren Hill, our volunteer coordinator and a vendor at the Arroyo Seco Marketplace said “It was very special to see the community coming together to explore this space. The Marketplace was a great way to engage with the community and introduce them to a place they didn’t know was here.” 

The event wasn’t all about shopping, however. There were family activities going on all day at the Arroyo Seco Marketplace in the newly-unveiled Children’s Woodland. These activities were free and open to the public, and featured the Audubon Center’s popular wreath-making station, manned by our lovely volunteers. The Audubon Center at Debs Park was happy to partner up with Ponderosa Cactus—a local cactus shop in Highland Park—and the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council to host a succulent potting event for kids and adults. We were also lucky to work with Self-Help Graphics (in collaboration with the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture) to host a print-making workshop. 

Screen printing with Self-Help Graphics. Photo: Rafael Cardenas

Musical performances were sprinkled throughout the Arroyo Seco Marketplace for those who wanted a change of pace.  Michael Heralda performed his show “Aztec Stories,” an interactive show where he showcases various traditional, handcrafted musical instruments, creating a narrative that is captivating for both kids and adults.

Everybody ate well. Tacos Sin Karma, a Pasadena-based, vegan catering company provided burritos, tacos, and nachos, to all those who came hungry. We were also lucky to have Maracas Café and Catering who kindly supplied aguas frescas for those who were thirsty. A community table with free popcorn and pan dulces was available to all those who wanted a quick snack as they browsed the vendor booths.   

Succulent potting was another fun activity at the event. Photo: Sotero Delgado

As the Arroyo Seco Marketplace came to a close, we were happy to announce winners of our raffle.  Pasadena Patagonia and REI in Arcadia were generous to donate various items to be raffled off at the Marketplace. Some lucky folks left the Audubon Center with items such as a down jacket, a pair of hiking poles, sweaters, and sleeping bags. 

“It was a great event for our organization to offer something to our community where they could experience outdoor activities, art in nature, and urban nature,” said Center Director Marcos Trinidad. With great help from the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood CouncilEagle Rock Neighborhood Council, and Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council, the Audubon Center at Debs Park was able to bring communities in Northeast LA to experience the beauty of the natural world. “Our goal was to emphasize the community aspect of the Marketplace as well as the importance of community involvement when creating bird-friendly communities. It is important for our organization to support local economy.  By offering small businesses the opportunity to engage with the community on a meaningful level, we create avenues for communication and active engagement.” 

 “It is definitely an event we plan to host again next year,” Trinidad promised.   

Estefania Palacio is Operations Assistant at the Audubon Center at Debs Park.

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