Foster-Powell’s ‘Mercado’ celebrates 7th year with big fiesta

INCLUDES VIDEO | See how this unique outer East Portland marketplace celebrated its being a hub for entrepreneurs and Latin-American culture in our city. Look here, and see what they’re hosting there on July 9 …

Although the day started drearily, the sun did shine on the “anniversary fiesta” of the Portland Mercado.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It looked like the seventh anniversary celebration for the Portland Mercado, on Saturday, June 18, might actually be rained out – but, by about 1:30 p.m., the clouds began to break up and the sun shone kindly on the fun in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood.

At the border of the Foster-Powell neighborhood, seven years ago, City of Portland officials and Hacienda CDC staff broke ground for this thriving Mercado. It took place on May 15, 2014. CLICK HERE to see our coverage of that momentous event. The Portland Mercado officially opened eleven months later, on April 11, 2015, with a large celebration.

Helping coordinate this year’s celebration: Hacienda CDC Communications and Event Manager Andréa Guedes.

“We are so proud of what the Portland Mercado has become since we started this initiative in 2015,” Hacienda CDC “Communications and Event Manager”Andréa Guedes beamed. “This was an expansion of our entrepreneurial support programming started back in 2006.

“Today, we’re celebrating how far we’ve come since that beginning,” Guedes observed. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the last two years we haven’t been able to celebrate anniversaries – so now, we’re really ‘doubling down’ on the excitement of getting the community together again.

Nothing is more exciting than Ballet Papalotl Folklorico performances; here they’re showing off for our camera their colorful traditional costumes.

This Ballet Papalotl member gets guests to dance – in the rain!

“We’re happy to be honoring not only Latin American culture and traditions, but also the vendors and the people who make up this community,” Guedes told East Portland News.

Take a look at our brief video that shows all that went on during this celebration:

Due to the wind and rain that morning, organizers weren’t able to set up a Bounce House for the kids, but there was plenty of live entertainment – including cultural dances, face painting, and the vendors.

And, many visitors enjoyed food from the carts offering cuisines from nine Latin-American countries, as well as fresh Smoothies from X?cotl, and adult beverages from Barrio Neighborhood Bar.

Dining and entertainment are part of the Portland Mercado’s anniversary celebration.

Inside the Portland Mercado building, Elsie – who just opened her business, Don Bigote – offers a sample of her Churros.

Many people who see the Portland Mercado’s food carts along S.E. Foster Road think of it as a place to buy delicious and unique meals, Guedes pointed out. “But it is much more. It’s also a focal point for people to reconnect with the Latin American culture, and to find a ‘taste of home’ while living here, far away from their country of origin.

“Additionally, the facility serves as a ‘business incubator’ – a hub for people who want to make their dreams a reality, and figure out how to grow and scale a business,” Guedes commented. “And, for those of them who use our licensed Commissary Kitchen, we give them a place to create everything from food products for humans and pets – to cosmetics and other products!”

Nonprofit organizations and vendors come to the community celebration.

‘Summer Fest’ July 9
If you missed the seventh anniversary party, don’t fail to come by on Saturday, July 9, from noon until 7 p.m., for their Summer Fest, which “will celebrate the Latinx youth voice in Portland”, organizers say.

You’ll find performances from Friends of Noise artists, music, vendors, local makers, community partners, a piñata-making lesson, and fun water activities for the kids. This is a family-friendly event, perfect to beat the heat and join in the festivities.

The event itself is FREE, but you can certainly purchase goods, food, and beverages from the vendors.  The Portland Mercado is located at 7238 SE Foster Road, 97206. For more information, see their Facebook Events page: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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