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First-ever event in Downtown Plaza saw close to 1,500 attendees, organizers estimate

LINDSAY KEEFER - Abigail Trapala, 7, of Woodburn, bites into an elephant ear served by El Mercadito, one of many vendors at Taste of Woodburn in downtown Woodburn over the weekend.LINDSAY KEEFER - Taste of Woodburn was capped off with the Cuban Caribbean flavor of Dina y Los Rumberos, which not only had salsa competitors dancing, but also guests watching, including 3-year-old Sofia Alvarez, of Portland.The first ever Taste of Woodburn event was so successful that sponsors have signed up for future years and organizers have heard only positives, they said.

The event, held Saturday and Sunday in the Woodburn Downtown Plaza, featured food and craft vendors, live entertainment and a "family" atmosphere, in addition to a salsa food competition and a salsa dance competition.

"This is a win for our community," Jamie Johnk, economic development director for the city, said. "If you don't believe that, then look at the crowds and the food and the feel."

Johnk, who helps lead the Tourism Advisory Committee, which put on the event, said they estimated as many as 1,500 people populated the plaza over the weekend.

LINDSAY KEEFER - Carmen Morales, of El Mercadito, fries an elephant ear at Taste of Woodburn over the weekend.Among them were Alma and Frank Grijalva, who arrived as festivities kicked off around noon Saturday and stayed all day — then repeated it on Sunday.

"It's been very welcoming, with something for everyone," Alma Grijalva said. "I love the coziness; this is our living room! We came and then didn't realize what time it was. We couldn't resist. It's like hanging out with family of Woodburn."

Entertainment encompassed the diversity Woodburn has to offer, from Billy and the Rockets to the Grupo Azteca Huitzilopochtli (Aztec dancing group). The event was capped off with the Cuban Caribbean flavor of Dina y Los Rumberos, which not only had salsa competitors dancing, but also guests watching, including 3-year-old Sofia Alvarez, of Portland (pictured right).

LINDSAY KEEFER - Dina Y Los Rumbreros performs music in the gazebo in the Downtown Plaza while salsa dancers entertain with their moves. LINDSAY KEEFER - Siblings Ana Elvia and Carlos Marcelo, of Gresham, enjoy ice cream cones while listening to live music at Taste of Woodburn on Sunday.While the Plaza can only fit so much of Woodburn's flavor, the TAC published a passport in which anyone can get stamps from restaurants and other destinations around Woodburn, to ultimately turn in at City Hall for prizes anytime this year.

Anyone who didn't get a passport can get one at City Hall, Woodburn Premium Outlets' visitors center or the Woodburn Independent.

Lindsay Keefer can be reached at 503-765-1193 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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