Comunidad hosts Mercado, celebrating Latin American culture

The event aims to bring the island’s community together to celebrate Latinidad and support local Latino businesses.

Comunidad, an organization founded by Vashon’s vibrant Latino community, invites islanders to celebrate Latin American culture at Mercado, an event taking place from 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, in the Backlot outdoor pavilion of Vashon Theatre.

September 9 is a significant date as it is close to Fiestas Patrias, which marks the independence of several Latin American countries, including El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.

Mercado aims to bring the island’s community together to celebrate Latinidad and support local Latino businesses, according to the event’s organizers.

“Mercado is not just a one-time event but the culmination of a year-round effort to develop and nurture local Latino business talent, interest, and ideas,” the organizers said, in a press release. “Vendors have been working diligently to prepare for this event, trying out their hand at businesses that reflect Latin America’s rich and diverse culture.”

Some of the booths at Mercado will be a product of youth internships hosted by Comunidad, which included culinary and fashion design projects. Even the youngest Latino leaders have participated, they said, creating custom candles available for purchase.

Comunidad, founded in 2009, emerged from a desire among local Latinos to discuss their concerns and recognize and celebrate their strengths and talents within the community.

Comunidad values inclusivity and accessibility, acknowledging that authentic leadership is not limited to those who can attend meetings but includes ideas from all corners of the community. To this end, organizers have conducted extensive listening seasons, engaging with over 500 Latinos during the last round of conversations and 280 in a season just six months before.

These insights, said Comunidad organizers, have helped shape the organization’s agenda, which currently centers on economic development. In addition to supporting youth internships, the organization’s Mercado aims to bolster existing Latino-owned businesses on Vashon Island.

Mercado coupons can also be used this year at local Latino restaurants: Zamorana, La Isla, and Casa Bonita.

Attendees can look forward to a delightful array of Latin American cuisine, with vendors offering delicious food from Mexico, Guatemala, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and more.

Shoppers will also find a variety of products, including skincare items, clothing, earrings, belts, and much more.

Mercado is a family family-friendly event.