By Crystal Harrell
The Street Fair at College of the Desert has been a trademark of Palm Desert ever since its establishment in 1983, inviting vendors and small business owners to share their wares with the public.
The COD Street Fair was closed in March 2020 due to COVID-19 public health mandates. After almost two years, it has finally made a return this month.
“Our team has been working tirelessly to reopen since we closed. We are proud to have overcome the obstacles the pandemic presented us with and reopen in the new year,” stated Betsy Young, the Executive Director of the College of the Desert (COD) Alumni Association.
The COD Alumni Association is a non-profit and proceeds from merchant booth rents support students attending the College. To date, the Alumni Association has contributed 14 million dollars to support students through scholarships, financial aid and other programs.
The COD Alumni Association is responsible for putting on the Street Fair, with three full-time staff members who work year-round toward a successful event that supports COD students through scholarships and merchants who are small business owners. In addition, there are several part-time staff members who work on the weekends.
“It is absolutely wonderful to be able to hold the Street Fair again. We are thrilled to be open in 2022. The community’s response has been great and we appreciate their continued support
for our merchants, which in turn helps students attending College of the Desert,” said Young.
Many of the veteran merchants from past years have returned for the 2022 season, including several new vendors, which brings a total of 130 vendors currently at the Street Fair. One of the prominent appeals of the COD Street Fair is the fact that there is something for everyone to enjoy. From clothing, jewelry, accessories, and tools, to kitchen gadgets, cars and tasty food, this is a one-stop shop for most residents.
“I have always enjoyed coming to the COD Street Fair throughout the years. The food can’t be beat and you are sure to find something that you’ll be interested in,” explained Palm Desert resident Ruben Garcia.
The COD Street Fair committee is always staying up-to-date with city, county and state guidelines as they relate to COVID-19 to ensure the safety of its visitors, merchants and staff—especially as the Omicron variant continues to spread.
“Visitors of the COD Street Fair can create their own experience with each visit. From strolling through the aisles of vendors filled with merchandise and services for all ages and any budget, viewing unique vintage cars, and gathering fresh produce at the farmer’s market, to enjoying live entertainment, tasting delicious gourmet food and much more, you’ll want to come back and join us again and again,” explained Young.
There are currently many volunteers who help at the Street Fair. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the COD Alumni Association for more information.
Anyone interested in becoming a merchant at the Street Fair at COD can also visit their website for more information and applications. Booths are 530 dollars each month and are available in a variety of sizes from 20′ X 20′ to 20′ X 100′. Those interested can purchase the booth space seasonally, monthly, or be a stand-by merchant and purchase space for the day, based on availability.
The Street Fair at COD is open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., through the month of May.
For more information on memberships or street fair applications, call 760-636-7957 or visit codaastreetfair.com to get in touch with the Alumni Association.