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For those who missed this fiesta on Foster Road, there's a brief VIDEO of the celebration at the end of this article!

DAVID F. ASHTON - Few things are more exciting than Ballet Papalotl Folklorico performances. Here, they were showing their colorful and traditional costumes. At first, it looked like the seventh anniversary celebration planned 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 emerged to shine kindly on the fun to be had that day in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood.

It was at the border of the Foster-Powell neighborhood, seven years ago, that City of Portland officials and Hacienda CDC staff broke ground for this thriving Mercado. That took place on May 15, 2014. The Portland Mercado officially opened eleven months later, on April 11, 2015, with a large celebration.

"We are so proud of what the Portland Mercado has become, since we started this initiative in 2015," Hacienda CDC's 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.

"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 THE BEE.

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.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Dining and entertainment were part of the Portland Mercados anniversary celebration. And, many visitors enjoyed food from the carts offering cuisines from nine Latin-American countries, as well as fresh Smoothies from Xocotl, and adult beverages from Barrio Neighborhood Bar.

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!" DAVID F. ASHTON - This Ballet Papalotl member performed a classical Folkloric dance with her group.If you missed the fiesta, take a look at this brief BEE video, to get an idea of all that went on during the seventh anniversary celebration — youtu.be/SDVcPc1BFao


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