Montavilla ‘First Friday’ invites urban exploration

If you haven’t gone sightseeing in Montavilla/East Tabor business district lately, here’s a monthly event that’s a terrific reason to see the kaleidoscope of goods and services now offered in this revitalized outer East Portland village …

From pizza pie to fine dining, and from live music to recent motion pictures at the beautifully restored deco-area theater – there’s a lot of fun to be had these days in Montavilla.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For folks who haven’t visited the Montavilla Farmers Market, or haven’t even been through this part outer East Portland lately – one that for years was neglected and somewhat run down, a whole lot of things have have changed in the last few years – and definitely for the better.

Last October, two storekeepers along SE Stark Street in the rejuvenated Montavilla/East Tabor business district decided to hold “First Friday” events.

The idea caught on; and now, up and down the street, many businesses are joining in the fun every month by offering special art shows, live music, sale prices, and food and wine sampling.

> Note: All of the company names in this article are hyperlinked to their respective websites.

Morgan Ennis, of Immortal Pie & Larder, makes our mouth water with one of her savory meat pies. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, there are fruit pies as well. They’ll be sampling wine at the October 1 First Friday event.

-3 Adam Sappington, chef and owner of renowned The Country Cat Restaurant, takes a break with a house-made melon frozen treat. He’ll be offering them again – for only $1 – this month.

“Members of the Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association (METBA) have embraced ‘First Friday’, because it gives them a way to show off their businesses,” said the association’s co-president, Kristin Schuchman, of Mixed Media Marketing Communications.

“When some people come back to Montavilla, they’re amazed to see all of the improvements to the district, and discover all of the exciting things that are happening here,” Schuchman added. “First Friday offers things for people of all ages to enjoy – from families with kids, to singles – or adults, who like a night out on the town.”

Here are a few more places we visited when we stopped by September’s Montavilla First Friday event:

Kathryn Lowe, LMT, CSET, from “Alleviate, LLC”, offers free chair massages – right out on the sidewalk, in front of Montavilla Community Acupuncture – at every First Friday event.

One of the founders of Montavilla First Friday, Nicole Prevost (left), at her shop, “Union Rose” – celebrates the monthly events with “trunk shows”. In September, it was Rita Hudson-Evalt (right) showing off her clothing line called Hubris. Young entrepreneur Ella Prevost (center) shows off one of her “Ella Pins” – also for sale at the shop.

At the Oregon Bike Shop is DJ Daniel Moe a/k/a – playing tunes for everyone on the street to enjoy.

A sampling of offerings in Montavilla on October 1

  • At the Bipartisan Café – famous for their freshly-made pies – you’ll find the live music, with no cover charge, by Shicky Gnarowitz & The Transparent Wings of Joy from 7 to 9 p.m.
  • The Observatory Lounge also features live music; they host The Lonesome Crows from 6 to 10 p.m.
  • At Pastry Girl, you’ll find a $2 Cupcake Bar from 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Salty’s Dog & Cat Shop presents a talk by Cindy Bruckat called Understanding Dog Play, Behaving at 6:30 p.m.

For a complete listing, take a look at Montavilla/East Tabor Business Association’s webpage listing all of the special events you’ll find on October 1: CLICK HERE to open it!

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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