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Riverside County Receives Grant for Blythe Marketfest

Tue, 13/02/2024 - 04:00

BLYTHE – The County of Riverside, with the full support of Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, applied for and received a grant on behalf of the Blythe community to start up Blythe Marketfest, a weekly farmer’s and community market featuring local small businesses.

Through the Palo Verde Valley Economic Alliance, Riverside County departments and Supervisor Perez’s office have been working with the City of Blythe and community partners on local economic development efforts. One idea that was identified to support local businesses is to create a farmer’s market in Blythe.

The Riverside County Office of Economic Development submitted a grant proposal last year to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmers Market Promotion Program. The county was recently awarded $180,980 from the USDA. As part of the grant agreement, Riverside County is supporting the effort with $45,245 as a 25 percent funding match.

A partnership of Riverside County, the City of Blythe and the Blythe Chamber of Commerce, Blythe Marketfest features 18 to 20 vendors selling locally made items. It runs on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to noon at the city’s Todd Park, located at 405 N. Broadway, Blythe. The Blythe Marketfest season runs Saturdays through April 27.

Blythe Marketfest had an official grand opening earlier this month. Supervisor Perez and Blythe leadership attended the soft launch in December and visited the small businesses that were there.

“The vision of Blythe Marketfest is to help local businesses by selling local foods, goods and services in Blythe, and eventually with a farmer’s market that can support small farmers in the Palo Verde Valley,” said Supervisor Perez. “Blythe Marketfest can keep dollars local, provide a fun-filled shopping option for local families, as well as generate spending from outside the community by visitors who stop by. What’s great about this is that it helps people develop skills to start new businesses and grow their businesses, through classes by the Small Business Development Center where they can learn what it takes to create a business plan and what it means to market. We are excited to be an awardee of this grant and support Blythe with funding for this, which provides ongoing economic opportunities to the community.”

The Blythe Chamber of Commerce is accepting vendors and helping them get established as businesses and take part in this opportunity. The Chamber encourages community members and families to come out to Marketfest, which has games and activities planned each Saturday that provide fun for the whole family.

Rowena Luth, Blythe Marketfest Manager who works for the Blythe Chamber of Commerce, states, “We’re actively seeking vendors to make this event a massive success and contribute to the growth of our community. This endeavor embodies economic development. This is the ideal launching pad for anyone with a dream to start a business.”

The USDA funding will support Blythe Marketfest for three years.

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Supervisor V. Manuel Perez represents the Fourth Supervisorial District on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. The largest district in the county by geography, the 4th District covers eastern Riverside County, from Whitewater, stretching across the entire Coachella Valley south to the Salton Sea, up Highway 74 to Idyllwild and the mountain communities, and heading east of the Coachella Valley to Blythe and the Colorado River.

Supervisor Perez’s office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Blythe MarketFest