The Walnut Beach Farmers Market celebrated Christmas in July, on a warm and sunny summer evening Thursday, July 19, complete with Santa Claus, elves and Christmas music.

The popular Walnut Beach Farmers Market, located beneath the Walnut Beach Pavilion, is celebrating its second successful season with varying themes each month. The lively market is held the third Thursday of each month during the five-month growing season, from 4-7 p.m.

“I am very excited about this year’s group of organizers who are really putting in so much energy and excitement into making sure everybody knows about the market,” said Mayor Ben Blake. “They’ve done a terrific job of promoting the market. We have a great set of farmers markets; we have one in Woodmont, one in Devon, one downtown and this one at Walnut Beach. They have become part of the fabric of our community, something that everybody looks forward to, and it’s a good healthy way to make sure the food you are eating is fresh and is local.”

Sponsored by the Walnut Beach Arts and Business Association, the market boasts vendors offering fresh local produce, seafood, teas, fresh cut flowers, gifts itemsand more. Bring your pets, enjoy the numerous food trucks on site, kids’ activities and face painting. “The main goal of the association is to bring fun to the area and to embrace all the great things we have here,” said member Susan Patrick. “We are a tight knit group and we seem to get a lot done on a little budget. The farmers market has been a goal of the association for a while so it’s satisfying to see it open and take off and be so popular.”

Christmas in July was held complete with Christmas characters and lighted trees as residents shopped to live music by the Family Hutch, who performed the most popular Christmas jingles. “This is our second year and the market has grown tremendously since last year and has changed locations,” said market master Meta Carter. “It is now at the Walnut Beach Pavilion. We have two farms that come, we have Massaro Community Farm out of Woodbridge and we have our local Milford Farm which is called River Crest Farm, and we have 16 additional assorted vendors and live music.”

“We have themed markets each month where people can come and have their dinner,” added Carter. “We have many craft vendors, friends of the library, we offer human and pet massages, we have Silver Sands Pizza who comes and is delicious, a cannoli truck, and Fryborg truck. It’s a gorgeous set up too, we are under the pavilion so we’re in the shade and you are literally looking out over the beach as you shop, the breeze is so nice too.”

“I’m the president of the Walnut Beach Arts and Business Association,” said Gary Dangle, Backroom Bakery owner. “The markets have been a huge success; we are looking forward to continuing to grow. People should come on down to Walnut Beach, it’s a great area and there are a lot of good shops a couple blocks down.”

“Our theme is get to the market, get something good,” continued Carter. “Because there’s a lot of good stuff there, there’s a lot of stuff for the kids to do. Sepe Lamb Farm is there, we have fresh honey, BRYAC comes with delicious oysters and lobster bisque, cheese vendors - don’t eat dinner before you to come our market! Eat dinner here. It’s a fun community time, if you’ve never been to a market - get to this market, it’s a very vibrant market. Go to our Facebook page for information.”

“I’m very happy to be included this year for Christmas in July,” said Santa Claus, Rick George. “It gives me an opportunity to update the naughty list.” Look for Santa’s summer sled — a black Ford Model A 1931. The market will be open Aug. 16 - which is themed the Dog Days of Summer and will offer many pet specialties including pet adoption (pets welcome); Sept. 20 - Scout Out the Market; and Oct. 18 - Fallfest Finale.