Festive Farmers Merry Market

The landmark hosts a bunch of happy to-doings.

If you know your Farmers Market, and we're going to guess you do, given that the famous public marketplace has Third-and-Fairfax'd it since 1934, you know a few things about the annual holiday happenings.

1. They're free. Does anything else need be said? No.

2. They've got variety. Carolers, a menorah lighting, a Santa hat decorating workshop, and mariachis are on the roster. Is there anything better than hearing mariachis inside Farmers Market? Seriously, architects who design fancy theaters with fancy acoustics should do a field study at the Market. All those little stalls reflect sound in a rather magnificent way. Call it Food Acoustics.

3. They own their brand. We hate to break out cold words like "brand" when it comes to the Market, which is a pretty organic place. (Um, pun intended?) But check out the Christmas tree near the clocktower. It's covered with tiny green baskets. Look. We're not going to knock other businesses for going out and purchasing ornaments off the shelf, but the Farmers Market ornaments are specific to Farmers Market.

4.They sprawl. In a good way. Dates are Saturday, Dec. 17 through Saturday, Dec. 24. And the weekdays aren't forgotten, either; there's stuff happening each day.

5. They've got holiday history. Mel Tormé, who wrote "The Christmas Song" -- heard of it? -- once led the Farmers Market carolers in an impromptu performance of the famous tune. He was just there, at the Market, eating and reading the paper, when it all happened. We love this story. Because while places all over the world celebrate the holidays, the people who helped create our modern holiday standards patronized Farmers Market. And still do.

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