Choruses of “bonjour” and greetings capped off with kisses on both cheeks could be seen among many of the French festival goers on Saturday.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing for me and the French who are here today because it really reminds us of our country, so we feel at home,” David Martinon, Consul General of France, told the crowd during the ceremonial kick off.
Evelyne Ustarroz, who owns Starros Productions, agreed. She said she was happy to support the event.
“It’s nice,” she said. “It’s a French vintage flea market like we do in Paris.”
There were 100 vendors on hand, said David Pilcer, Open Market Place’s project manager. The sellers sold everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to paper crafts, handmade soap and Hollywood High School gear. There was plenty of food to choose from as well, including French pastries from Normandie Bakery.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was eager to be supportive, said the chamber’s membership sales manager John Mejia.
“The school is doing a lot of worthwhile work, and events like this help promote those worthwhile and charitable causes,” Mejia said. “Residents and tourists are going to benefit from having a place like this.”
The vendors on hand were also grateful to be able to display and sell their wares, including Silman Sao who is of Senegalese descent but grew up in France. His booth featured hand tie-dyed curtains, that double as shawls, and baskets from Senegal that incorporate a 17th century weaving technique, he said.
“These are one-of-a-kind items that they can’t find anywhere else,” he said. “People around this location are attracted to this kind of art.”
Emily Liebl, a lover of all things vintage, was glad to offer vintage clothing for women as well as accessories, and jewelry at her “El Vintage” booth.
“I think the vibe of it is great,” Liebl said of the Open Market Place.
For Pilcer, it is all about bringing people together no matter where they are from, he said.
The Open Market Place is held from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month at Hollywood High School, located at 1521 Highland Avenue, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the school.