Thursday, March 19, 2009

College of the Desert Street Fair

It is impossible to visit Palm Desert and not spend a few hours at the College of the Desert Street Fair. With mountains in the distance, blue skies, palm trees, music, lots of interesting sights. Very interesting. Stay with me, I'll introduce you to some really wild characters.

The College of the Desert is located on Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert. Every Saturday and Sunday morning they host a street fair with over 300 vendors and a wide (and wild) selection of merchandise, arts and crafts, and produce that you didn't know you couldn't live without. The vendors come from all over and arrive long before the sun comes up to set up their stalls. There is a waiting list to be a College of the Desert vendor! Free parking, free admission, and free entertainment. Plastic chairs scattered along the way so you can rest your feet, people watch, and get your strength back to meander through another row. This sign says it all.

I followed the sound of music and discovered a man with his harp. Yes, the real deal. I loved his red ruffled shirt. The sunglasses completed his ensemble.

Besides clothing and shoes,  gadgets and gizmos,  jewelry and purses, lawn ornaments and golf gear, dolls and toys - whew - there's the food! Pass nearby and catch the aroma of hot dogs.

The guy on the right has a waffle with whipped cream and strawberries on top. I resisted. My hands were already busy carrying bags.

The produce is beautiful. Palm Desert is surrounded by farmland and these artichokes were just picked.

Fresh fruit and dried fruit. After eating raisins from the market stands - plump and moist and sweet - I can't go back to the little dry raisins from a box on the grocery shelf. I bought enough dried fruit to bring back home, share with friends and family, and last until our next trip. Did you know you could freeze dried fruit? It works wonderfully for raisins, cranberries, and dates, too.

The sign at the entrance says "No dogs allowed at the fair"  but it's regularly ignored and never enforced. This little guy was carried in a motorized cart with his owner.  It seems like everyone in Palm Desert has a dog. There are vendors who carry nothing but dog accessories, outfits, beds, bejeweled collars, you name it.

Save your energy for shopping.  Catch a free ride from the parking lot. Or after a few hours roaming the fair you can ride back to your car with your purchases.

Clearly these ladies are arriving from the parking lot. How do I know? They have no shopping bags.

Can I capture the essence of the street fair with a few pictures? No,  you'll have to go and see for yourself. Don't miss the pink tutu's or the flip flops in every color.

Take a look at the ladies purses and the eyeglass cases in wild animal prints. 

It's not just the stuff that you shouldn't miss, it's the way it's laid out, the characters who choose this lifestyle of setting up a stall, spending the day selling in the sun, just to pack up at days end. It's the shoppers of every age, smiling, serious, singles and in groups. Different faces every visit. I can't get enough of them.

1 comment:

  1. How I wish I could have been there with you but alas, I must stay in my own bit of paradise for a while, Hope to see you this summer and see even more pictures.