The summer market season is in full swing and organization Oregon Pero en Español is joining in on the fun with its traveling Latino market, El Tianguis de Oregon. On July 22, the organization is bringing locals a night of food, drinks, local vendors and live music, while connecting Spanish-speaking businesses and community members.
Nancy Ayala started Oregon Pero en Español, (Oregon, but in Spanish), as a communication platform to serve the Hispanic community. The organization, which started in Central Oregon, is 100% Spanish, providing statewide news and event content. It started facilitating markets last year and now brings its event to different cities across Oregon.
The market serves as a business expo, breaking down communication barriers and supporting Latino businesses by providing a space where people can network and reach their communities. It's had eight events throughout the state since the first market in the spring of last year. According to Ayala, people keep requesting more.
"We focused on sharing the good things of our businesses and our culture in one day," said Ayala. The July 22 event will have live music from Salsa band Son de Cuba and adult beverages such as Mexican-style ale from Bend's Tranquilo and Latino-made wine from Parra Wine Co.
Wendi Ayala, the event coordinator for Oregon Pero en Español, said they've seen a lack of diversity at a lot of markets and hoped to close that gap. Many Latino makers and entrepreneurs didn't have a spot at some of these gatherings.
"It wasn't because they didn't know about them," Wendi Ayala said. "A lot of times, it's because it wasn't as welcoming." She noted that some markets are more selective on what vendors they host, and that it can be challenging for Latino businesses to fit into those niches.
For other community members, trying to get a spot at one of the frequent markets in their areas was intimidating. Oregon Pero en Español wants to open the door to get people involved in other markets. "Speaking to people in Spanish has been key to be able to get the community together and get entrepreneurs able to have a spot where they can talk about the services that they offer and the things they create, which we find incredibly valuable," Wendi Ayala said.