Over the last few months, we’ve fielded a lot of questions from readers looking to get involved in their neighborhood, find ways to connect with others and curious about their community, so this year we’ve put together a list of FAQs we regularly get in our inbox! We also asked one resident of Westchester and one resident of Playa del Rey to share their favorite tips and recommendations to share with their neighbors.
Below is a partial list of things everyone should know about Westchester/Playa in 2021 (visit thehtn.com for more FAQs). We hope you learn something new, and if there’s a question you have about the community, please let us know! Have a tip you’d like to share? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!
Q. When is the farmers’ market? A. Locally, there are three farmers’ markets: one in Westchester, one in Playa Vista and one in Marina del Rey. Each market has different vendors and products, so check them out to see which one fits your shopping needs.
Playa Vista’s market is the largest in the area and runs Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located in the Runway Shopping area in Playa Vista, at this market you’ll find lots of organic fruit and veggies, as well as a large number of artisanal food vendors and booths selling clothing, jewelry and more. Visit farmermark.com for more info.
The Westchester Farmers’ Market runs Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Westchester Triangle, and in addition to fruits and veggies (we like the pick three for $5 booth at the end of the market), check out vendors selling salsa, vegan popsicles, pastries, gumbo and more.
Follow the market on Instagram for an update of what’s in season @westchesterfarmersmarket.
The Marina del Rey market is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Parking Lot 11, located at 14101 Panay Way. Learn more at facebook.com/MDRFarmersMarket.
Q. How do I get involved with the neighborhood council? A. If you’re looking to learn more about what’s going on in the community, the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (NCWP) is a great place to start. The board meets the first Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. (right now via Zoom) to discuss proposed developments, hear from area businesses, make recommendations to Councilmember Bonin’s office and hear from community members on a variety of issues.
They also have a variety of committee meetings to explore issues more in-depth on topics like the airport, education and planning and land use.
Interested in running for a seat on the volunteer board? The candidate filing period opens February 6 and elections take place June 8.
Sign up for NCWP agendas at ncwpdr.org.
Q. How do I connect with other local business owners? A. Try the LAX Coastal Chamber. The chamber is a membership organization of more than 500 business owners and entrepreneurs that are interested in networking and working together to strengthen the local business community.
To support businesses during this challenging time, the chamber has managed to launch a variety of new initiatives to help its members connect and find resources, including Power Professionals to help those that are looking for a new job, a State Of series, an SBE certification program, Binge Live!, Leadership Academy 2.0 and more.
The chamber is also the organization behind Westchester’s Fourth of July Parade and the Teacher Eddy Awards.
For more info about online programming or membership, visit laxcoastal.com.
Q. What do the local Rotary Clubs do? A. The community is home to two active Rotary Clubs: the Westchester Rotary and the Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary. Rotary Clubs are membership organizations made up of people that are interested in giving back and serving their community through a variety of projects and initiatives.
The Westchester Rotary was founded in 1950, and its major projects include an annual Book Sale and a Makeover Project, which is currently underway at Emerson Avenue Community Garden. The club currently meets Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. via Zoom. Learn more at rotary-westchester.com.
The Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club meets Wednesdays at 8 a.m. via Zoom. The club’s top projects and events include Habitat for Humanity, the Santa Tour, Fire Station #5 pancake breakfast and its fall cultural dinner. This month, the club will distribute thousands of dollars to local teachers for classroom supplies and projects through its popular Teacher Mini Grant event.
Learn more at playavenice.org.
Q. Where can I donate food or contribute to a food drive?
A. The Food Pantry LAX has been serving the local area since 1985, and due to the pandemic they have seen an uptick in people needing their services. You can support the pantry by making a monetary donation via their website and by participating in food drives held throughout the year by community groups.
The pantry is also working with the Westchester Farmers’ Market and has a program where people can donate funds so that fresh produce is purchased at the market. The fruits and veggies are then collected by the food bank, which creates a win-win for local farmers’ and pantry visitors.
For more info, visit foodpantrylax.org/donations.html.
Another great organization that collects food donations is Grass Roots Neighbors in Playa del Rey. Visit their website for a list of grocery staples they’re always in need of (pasta, rice, beans, cereal, etc.) and drop off your donations every weekday from noon to 1 p.m. at 6804 Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey.
You can also help support neighbors in need by becoming a monthly donor to the volunteer-run nonprofit.
Visit grassrootsneighbors.org for more info on how to help.
Q. What are the community’s can’t-miss events? A. While all community events are going virtual or postponed for the time being, we hope that in-person events can happen again soon! Here are the area’s most popular events by month (dates for this year’s events are TBD unless noted):
• Rock Roll & Run, 5K raising money for local schools on March 13-19.
• Teacher Eddy Awards, celebrating local teachers and education
• Fourth of July Parade, parade down Loyola Blvd. in Westchester
• WAM, featuring live music, arts and a block party vibe
• Elks Car Show & Chili Cook Off, classic cars and a chili competition at the Lodge in Playa del Rey
• Holiday Home Tour, homes decorated for the holidays
• Marina del Rey Boat Parade, decorated boats cruise the marina
• Santa Tour, Santa and guests tour the community with help of LAPD and LAFD
Q. What are community groups that I can get involved with? A. Locally, there are many community and civic organizations that are always looking for new members. Some of the most active include:
The Elks – facebook.com/westchester.elks
Silicon Beach Social – siliconbeachsocial.org
Woman’s Club of Playa del Rey – wcpdr.org
Westchester Rotary Club – rotary-westchester.com
Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Club – playavenice.org
LAX Kiwanis – laxkiwanis.org
Westchester Mental Health Guild – westchestermhg.org
Q. How can I support local education? A. Schools in Westchester/Playa are supported by the LAX Coastal Education Foundation. The foundation, which relaunched in 2017, hosts the annual Rock Roll & Run 5K and raises money for schools which is distributed via grants. They also partner with SoCalGas to distribute STEM grants to K-12 schools. In March, the nonprofit will host a virtual Rock Roll & Run and is currently looking for sponsors and runners. Sign-ups will open in mid-January. They are also hosting an art contest this spring.
For more information about getting involved, visit laxcef.org or email email@example.com.
The Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa also has a very active Education Committee. The group meets monthly the fourth Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. via zoom to discuss local education and share resources.
All our welcome to attend the meetings. Visit ncwpdr.org to learn more.
Q. What are some of the area’s best Facebook Groups? A. There a lot of great Facebook with a local focus. If you like cooking, check out “Quarantine Cooking – Westchester & Silicon Beach.” On the group people share photos of their meals and recipes to help inspire others to create new dishes and push their culinary skills.
Like history? Check out “Westchester and Playa del Rey Peeps Now and Then!” Members share memories and photos of the neighborhood (and other local spots) to add a little nostalgia to your Facebook feed.
Posted January 2021.