Popular downtown Hillsboro event is now in its 31st year

Spring is here and the weather is turning warm, which can mean just one thing: it’s time for the opening of the annual Hillsboro Farmers’ Market.

In a local tradition that has stretched over 31 years, the market kicks off a new season this Saturday, May 4. From 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., Main Street in downtown Hillsboro will come alive with local farmers selling — and customers seeking — fresh produce.

To make way for the market, Main Street will be closed to vehicles between First Avenue and Third avenues, transforming the normally busy street into an energetic public square for a few hours.

Erin Greene, events coordinator for Hillsboro Farmers’ Market, said the market continues to grow in popularity.

“I think we’re going to have 60 to 65 vendors on Saturday, and we get about 8,000 people on any given Saturday,” she said. “We’re one of the oldest markets in the state. It’s exciting. Families grow up with the market, and families look forward to the market opening every year.”

On opening day, dozens of farms, nurseries, bakeries, artisans and hot food vendors will be offering their goods. In addition to fresh produce and fruits, local nurseries will be selling an endless variety of plant starts — herbs, vegetables and decorative plants — just in time for the growing season.

To commemorate the opening of the 2013 market, two musical acts will perform: Twangshifters will be on the Civic Center Plaza stage, and the Liberty High School Marching Band will play in the market center.

On Sunday, the Farmers’ Market at Orenco Station will begin its new season. The Orenco market — in the New Seasons parking lot at 1453 Northeast 61st Ave. — will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday from May through October.

According to Greene, the Orenco market is in its tenth year and draws roughly 6,000 shoppers on a typical Sunday.

“Orenco has seen some astounding growth. It’s a popular market,” said Greene.

Later in the season, two smaller markets will open in addition to the markets downtown and at Orenco. There will be a market on Wednesdays at Tanasbourne, with the other one at Tuality Hospital on Thursdays. Those events will be open June through August. The downtown and Orenco markets will run through the last Sunday in October.

Greene pointed out that the markets provide a tremendous financial boost for the Hillsboro economy.

“All of our markets combined bring in about $1.2 million a season,” she said. “And it’s all going to local farmers.”

Weather is always a key factor with any outdoor event, but Farmers’ Market planners may have hit it just right for this year’s opening.

“The weather this weekend looks like it’ll be amazing, 80 to 90 degrees, which would be astounding,” said Greene.

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