On April 15, hundreds of people gathered in the heart of the Village for the seventh annual Earth Day Celebration featuring Taste of Toluca, sponsored by the Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council, L.A. City Councilmember David Ryu, Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Steve and Kate’s Camp, and Toluca Lake Magazine. As always, the signature springtime event offered a sampling of what makes our community a great place to live, work and, of course, eat!
Held in conjunction with the weekly farmers market at Riverside Drive and Forman Avenue, the free family- and pet-friendly environmental resource fair and food festival invited people in and around the neighborhood to learn about green and healthy living from local businesses and nonprofit agencies, enjoy live entertainment and try popular dishes from more than 20 area restaurants.
Attendees traversed the event to gather information, snag giveaways and meet representatives from organizations such as the Garry Marshall Theatre, Strong Body Pilates, the Toluca Lake Garden Club, the Sweat Shoppe, the YMCA, the Los Angeles Zoo, the LAPD Community Police Advisory Board and many more, as well as the farmers market’s regular produce, plant and craft vendors. The complimentary small plates available included the Smoke House’s famous garlic cheese bread, Prosecco Trattoria’s bruschetta, Cascabel’s ceviche, Rita’s Italian ice, Sharky’s chips and salsa, Sweetsalt’s spicy quinoa and Tony’s Deli’s Italian subs, to name a few. A bounce house, kids’ activity corner, recycled art contest and appearance by L.A. Stormwater’s Trash Monster provided fun for the whole family, and everyone had a chance to win exciting raffle prizes from local businesses. On the main stage, young School of Rock musicians jammed out to crowd-favorite classics, Alicyn Packard and her band performed lyrical modern folk tunes, and Debi Derryberry’s band Honey Pig played rousing renditions of country-folk hits and original songs. There was even a fitness demonstration by the Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club, who got people moving with a free family Zumba session.
Keynote speaker (and our March/April cover star) Ed Begley Jr. addressed the crowd on the importance of sustainable living and offered tips on going green. He recounted how growing up in a severely smoggy San Fernando Valley in the 1950s and ’60s motivated him to participate in the first Earth Day in 1970 and embrace an eco-conscious lifestyle to reduce his carbon footprint. Begley said that before he graduated to building his LEED Platinum-certified home, he started by taking small steps to better our planet such as becoming a vegetarian, recycling and composting, all of which made a big impact while also being cost-effective. “It’s about doing what you can afford,” he said, encouraging the audience to make gradual changes, like using energy-efficient light bulbs and biking instead of driving.
Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu also took the stage and encouraged the audience to learn how to save the Earth by doing research and visiting the many booths at the fair to learn about reducing waste, investing in solar energy and more. He congratulated all the event organizers and sponsors on another successful festival celebrating the bounty of our beautiful planet and our wonderful neighborhood.