History of the College of the Desert Alumni Association
In order to accomplish the Association’s goals in the beginning, its Board of Directors (with the help of other volunteers) continually held car washes, vintage car shows, and other fund-raising events. At this same time, a farmer’s produce market had been held on the campus approximately once a month. It was the Association’s idea to expand the produce market to include garage sale items and encourage local residents to sell their “wares” at the College of the Desert in support the college. The sellers would simply pay $10 for a parking lot space for the one day sale. Originally, the market (or Street Fair as it is now called) was held once a month, was staffed by volunteers, and generated approximately $6,000 the first year. The next year the Fair was held two days a month. Its popularity grew primarily due to the fact that it was the only “swap meet” operation locally and because of the wonderful climate, atmosphere, and tourist industry of the City of Palm Desert. The revenue and success of the Street Fair has continued to grow. In the 2008-2009 fiscal year the Alumni Association street fair contributed over $514,000 in grants, gifts and scholarships to College of the Desert. The Street Fair since its inception has given over $8 million in grants, gifts, and scholarships to College of the Desert.
The Street Fair is held in parking areas on the College campus. It has grown to the capacity of 340 selling spaces every Saturday and Sunday from October through May (the height of the tourist season) and has roughly 100 selling spaces during the summer months of June through September. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 people visit the Street Fair each weekend during the tourist season.
As distinguished from an auxiliary, College of the Desert Alumni Association is an independent organization separate and apart from College of the Desert. College of the Desert appreciates the support provided to the College through the revenue generated by the Alumni Association Street Fair.