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The Portland Mercado has just presented its annual Fiesta once again on S.E. Foster Road

DAVID F. ASHTON - Members of the Huehca Omeyocan Aztec Dance group smile, before going on stage at the fiesta on S.E. Foster Road. It was a grand fiesta in the Foster-Powell neighborhood along S.E. Foster Road on Saturday, September 1, as the fourth annual "Taste of Latinoamérica" got underway at the Portland Mercado.

Lively Latinx music filled the air; people were taking salsa dance lessons – and of course, folks were enjoying a wide variety of food and beverages at the fiesta.

"Taste of Latinoamérica is our big annual celebration, featuring more than twenty vendors; we have booths representing the cultures of Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela – it's a big party!" beamed Portland Mercado Event & Marketing Coordinator Ambar Solarte.

"We have many of our Hacienda CDC sponsors and partners exhibiting and helping us here today, as well," Solarte told THE BEE.

Visitors shopped inside the Mercado building, visited an art exhibition, saw a live letterpress printing demonstration, and took a leisurely stroll among the vendors set up in the parking lot, while their kids played nearby in a giant bouncy castle.

It's important to hold the fiesta every year, Solarte said, "Because for us at the Portland Mercado, it's a program to give everyone an opportunity to become a businessperson or an entrepreneur.

"So, for many the vendors who participate at the Mercado, this is their first opportunity to have a business of their own! And, we want to close the gap between those who live in the greater Portland area, and our small business partners in the Latinx community," explained Solarte.

Beyond helping their client businesses, Solarte clarified, there's an even higher goal. "At this point in time we need events like this that help bring cultures together, to realize that we are part of the same community and we are all together, and not divided."

You can find out more about the Portland Mercado online –www.PortlandMercado.org

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