Hillsboro's Tuesday Night Market is back with plenty to offer
The Hillsboro Tuesday Night Market returns for its 21st season this week, offering a host of fresh produce, artisan crafts and local entertainment.
The idea of a Tuesday Night Market in Hillsboro began in 1997 with a small group of community members. Founding Board Member Lynn Adamo was a part of that small group and explained how the idea came about.
"There was a lot of development going on downtown, so the streets were all torn up. Business was bad and the people in town wanted to see if there was anything they could do to bring people back downtown after the streets were fixed," Adamo said.
"We had a lot of resistance and negativity at the beginning of it," she continued, "but we kept trying. It was by the seat of our pants, really, because there wasn't much money and it was really small at the beginning." After a year of figuring out logistics, gathering seed money and bringing together vendors, the Tuesday Night Market began its first season in 1998.
In its first year, the Tuesday Night Market made do by borrowing tents and other essential supplies. In need of a stage for entertainment, organizers borrowed a flatbed truck to park on Second Avenue and pumped music through a small portable sound system borrowed from the Chamber.
Despite its humble beginnings, Hillsboro's Tuesday Night Market has expanded each year to include more activities, vendors and entertainment, and now attracts between 8,000 and 10,000 people on busy nights.
As the Night Market has grown in popularity, it has attracted more vendors. One of the new vendors this year is Pablo Munoz Farms, a family-owned and operated farm located in Dayton, Ore.
Liz Munoz, daughter of the farm's founder, Pablo Munoz, shared her hopes for their first year at the Tuesday Night Market.
"We see that there's a lot of people who come together as a community in the afternoons when people are off work, so we are hoping to get a different kind of customer — those who might not make it to our weekend markets," she said.
Pablo Munoz Farms and other local farms supplying fresh and local produce can be found on the Night Market's Produce Row, located between Washington and Main.
After picking up some fresh fruit and vegetables, families can grab dinner from one of the food vendors and dine at the food court area located in front of the Civic Center. "We have almost food 200 vendors," said market co-manager Cheryl Morrill, "and everything is handmade or homegrown."
Wambui Machua, owner of Spice of Africa, a seasoned vendor now entering her third year at the Tuesday Night Market, called the event "an all-around fun market. There is music and many food options. It's very family-oriented, so people can bring their kids and just have a good time."
In addition to selling food for the Night Market, "primarily east African food from Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as a little bit of west African food from Ghana and Nigeria," said Machua, Spice of Africa also caters events and offers cooking lessons for those interested in learning how to prepare African cuisine.
The Tuesday Night Market not only offers an opportunity to skip the mid-week run to the grocery store and have a family dinner, but also, Morrill said, "We've continued to grow our entertainment lineup."
The main stage, located on the courthouse lawn, "will feature a theme that changes every week." Morrill said. "We have a stage on Third Street where we will have music and entertainment. There is also a nightly car show between Main and Lincoln. We also feature an artist on the art corner, which is on the corner of Third and Main. And we do activities in the Plaza of the Civic Center."
By Monica Salazar
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune, Forest Grove News-Times
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