La Puente Live Brings Community Together

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The rich smell of decadent spices from freshly cooked food tempts visitors as they peruse the booths filled with unique and handmade goods for sale at La Puente Live.

The weekly market brings in regular residents and visitors alike. La Puente resident, Maria Carrillo, 30, said she attends La Puente Live every week.

“Every Friday, I feel at home,” Carrillo said. “The music, the food, and the people remind me why my city is so special.”

La Puente Live is put together by the City of La Puente and TccEvent. It is an outdoor market event that strives to provide the community with exquisite food and live entertainment every Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. Each week, La Puente live draws in vibrant crowds of diverse individuals.

The weekly event creates a sense of unity among the people and promotes a movement of activity in Downtown La Puente, Eli Tawel, manager of the La Puente Live market, said.

Although the market has only been running since June 2015, it has become a popular activity in the community. The market’s growing popularity led to the event’s expansion in size and offerings to accommodate the number of attendees. The event is so popular people arrive an hour early to find a good parking spot.

“It has been very successful because we try to create a family friendly environment by providing activities for the children, like rides, jumpers and having the band play for the people,” Tawel said.

Despite the large crowds, attendees feel safe at the event.

“The environment is festive and peaceful,” Kathy Escalera, 61, La Puente resident, said. “There is no trouble here because to each their own; that is why there are no securities, they don’t need them.”

Attendees can visit an array of vendor booths each week. Vendors are vetted by management and pay only $35 per space, per event. Tawel said that La Puente Live is different from other cities’ market nights because everything sold by a vendor at La Puente live is handmade, unique and diverse. The food, for example, comes from many different cultures—Argentinian, Mexican, French, and Middle Eastern, to name a few.

Although some vendors participate in several cities’ market nights, many prefer La Puente Live. Art vendors, Jino Mendoza, 61, and his wife Debra Mendoza, 58, who have nine children, said the event is a “friendly family- orientated market, which is lively right for the community.”

The Mendozas describe their art as trendy and cultural with an edge of rockabilly. Many of their artworks depict Frida Kahlo because, like them, she is an active representation of a Hispanic artist.

“We are artists and that is why we are passionate in showing our crafts to the people,” Jino said.

However, not all vendors are selling something. For first time vendor, Youth Pastor Tony Rodriguez, he was there to preach.

“I have heart and passion for people of La Puente,” Rodriguez said. “I want to reach the hurt in today’s environment through the joy and peace of the Lord.”  

The La Puente Live market is held every Friday in downtown La Puente at 6-10 p.m.