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Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market celebrates one-year anniversary

Claudia Hernandez
Local venders set up their tables for the 1st anniversary of the Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market at The Substation on Sunday Sept. 23.

The Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market celebrated their one-year anniversary at the Substation with live music, authentic food, local art and products to fill attendees shopping bags.

In celebration for the one-year anniversary, the market hosted local musicians Elia Esparza, Joshua Lucero and Baku to entertain the crowd.

El Paso’s K’AAY Ballet Folklorico, a dance group of young girls, performed the traditional Mexican dance in assortments of colorful dresses for the market goers.

“The market has a very festive and lively atmosphere and today it has a little more,” said Miguel Martinez, photographer and vendor.

The markets one-year anniversary included extra activities for kids like face painting, a kid’s craft area, a selfie booth and Kidz Korner, a station where kids could visit to meet their favorite Marvel characters.

Grace Mitcheltree, a 12-year-old craft vendor, makes and sells slime, bookmarks, magnets and other crafts every Sunday to other children that attend the market with their family.

“A lot of kids will want to stop by and play with the slime or ask their parents and their parents always say, ‘No more slime!’” Mitcheltree said.

A celebration wouldn’t be complete without cake. The Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market offered free cupcakes to market goers to thank them for their one year of success.

“We want to celebrate in a big way and do a couple of things for our guests, like host special guest and have contests for big giveaways,” said Beto Hernandez, Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market Coordinator.

A year ago, the market opened with 20 local vendors selling their items such as food, jewelry, art and now the market has more than tripled.

“The market grew little by little and now, a year later, the market has over 70 vendors including farmers, jewelers, artisans, knitters, photographers, artists and many more,” Martinez said.

Miguel Martinez, a local photographer, has sold his photographs of famous El Paso landmarks, and anything related to El Paso, at the market since the first Sunday they opened to the public.

“I picked up photography after I retired and my main goal, as a photographer, is to photograph the city. I love UTEP, I love El Paso and I want to present that to the people that buy my photographs.” Martinez said.

Vendors aren’t the only ones with items for sale, the Substation’s 16 restaurants and shops also join in on the market fun.

“We actually open on Sundays for the market because we do get customers,” said Ann Rachel, an employee at The Old Yellow Bus Co., a baby and children’s clothing store.

Many of the restaurants and shops in the Substation are not open as early as 9 a.m. when the market opens, but starting in Oct. the market’s hours will change and market goers will be able to utilize all the Substation has to offer.

Currently, summer hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Beginning in Oct. the market’s fall and winter hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday.

Due to the later hours for the fall and winter, attendance at the market usually grows as more people tend to sleep in or run errands before they stop by the market.

“During the summer, the attendance tends to go down to about 1,000 people because of the early hours and heat,” Martinez said. “But in the fall and winter, we see up to 1,5000 attendees every Sunday.”

Martinez and Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market vendors invite and welcome all to visit.

For more information about the Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market find them on Facebook and Instagram @Uppervalleymarket.

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Upper Valley Artist & Farmers Market celebrates one-year anniversary