Bluegrass music enlivens Midway ‘Night Market’

Here’s a way an organization has figured out to bring folks together, in the Midway area …

The first ever Midway International Night Market attracts hundreds of visitors.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The Division Midway Alliance for Community Improvement (DMA) has come up with a new way to strengthen ties among businesses and neighbors in southern outer East Portland. They call it the Midway International Night Market – and the first one was held on June 14.

“Actually, the idea started shortly after our successful Midway Fall Festival in October,” recalled DMA District Manager Lori Boisen. “People in the community kept asking us if we’re going to have another, similar event. Our board and volunteers came up with this.”

The success of this “Night Market” causes DMA District Manager Lori Boisen and Board Chair David Edwards of David Edwards Insurance smile.

Their goal is to bring the community and businesses together in the DMA district, Boisen told East Portland News – which runs along SE Division Street, from I-205 east to nearly the Gresham city line.

Because the organization’s Midway Fall Festival had been on SE 148th Avenue, this event was held further west. “We want attention to draw attention to the wide area the district covers, so we decided to have it here on SE 122nd Avenue, at the Division Center Plaza,” Boisen said.

Elias Khoury, owner EZ Freezy – a family-owned local business – shares samples, with the help of the company’s mascot.

Area merchants promoted the event – including Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, which put hundreds of flyers in bags, and Pizza Baron, which promoted it on their pizza boxes.

Clearly visible from SE Division Street, the 23 vendors at the Midway International Night Market got great exposure – drawing in the curious to take a look at the event, which was held from 5:00 until 10:00 p.m.

The Night Market’s Committee Chair, Lorelei Young of Keepsake Family Tree Video, arranged for canopies, tables, and chairs – and volunteers to help out at the event.

This bluegrass jam session, organized by Dr. David Day (playing string bass), attracted and held a crowd with lively toe-tapping tunes.

And. Dr. David Day D.C. – the president of the Midway Business Association – contacted bluegrass musicians in the area to come by for a jam session that ran almost continuously for five hours, with up to 20 players joining in at times during the evening.

“We came here to see what was going on,” remarked visitor Max Matson. “But now my wife won’t let us leave. She keeps saying, ‘Let’s listen to just one more song.’ It’s okay with me; the music is really good.”

Dolores Wood and Ted Condon, with the David Douglas Historical Society, share information about the organization.

Checking her “clicker” at the end of the meeting, Boisen said the event drew 495 visitors – many of whom stopped the DMA booth to learn more about the district, and to fill out questionnaires.

With this “Night Market”, it looks as if the DMA is fulfilling the promise of their slogan, “Building a better Midway”. Learn more about the organization by checking their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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