Point Ruston. Proctor. Pearl Street. You know each of these Tacoma locations, but wait to see them transformed at this summer’s trio of La Paloma Marketplaces.

Following the success of the Tacoma Flea Market and last year’s holiday markets, local event organizer extraordinaire Molly Alvarado is launching her biggest effort yet: three ongoing, outdoor community markets that celebrate local talent and add a new outdoor happening to three distinct neighborhoods. Each market has a different flavor and will run from June to October.

La Paloma Point Ruston
Tacoma’s first weekly night market will be the La Paloma Waterfront market at Point Ruston. Photo credit: Genevieve Denise

Carefully curated, Point Ruston will be Tacoma’s first weekly night market. Inspired by the markets of Europe, Point Ruston will offer vintage and artisan wares every Thursday evening. Perfect for a date night or an after-work stroll, you can pick up useful items while enjoying the waterfront and live music.

The classic Proctor market is across from the Farmer’s Market in Proctor, making it an ideal setting for a family-friendly outing. Formerly known as the Tacoma Flea Market, this market has expanded to both sides of the street to offer more vendors and now runs every Saturday morning.

Finally, the Pearl Street market will offer a monthly “treasure-hunter’s delight” with antiqued, junked, artisan and handmade wares in a casual setting. Located in front of the future home of the Tacoma Central Co-op, La Paloma Pearl Street offers a one-of-a-kind shopping destination second Sundays of the month. Bring the kids and stop by nearby Point Defiance Park to make a day of it.

Earthwise Hardware
Earthwise Architectural Salvage brings items salvaged from local historic buildings, perfect for upcycling and decorative touches. Photo courtesy: Earthwise Architectural Salvage

Each market will feature more than 25 vendors from around the Puget Sound region. You’ll also find kids’ handiwork, musicians, community booths, face-painting and so much more. You’ll find everything from salvaged local building supplies (Earthwise Architectural Salvage) to vintage typewriters spanning the past century (Marty’s Typewriters) to jewelry handmade from vintage chandeliers (Capable Father). The markets are all free of charge and open to everyone.

And if you get hungry from all the looking? Get some delectable farm-to-table eats from Local Bun Microbakery or sumptuous whole food bowls from Good Life Everyday.

Molly Alvarado was inspired by the warm reception to the Tacoma Flea Market. “We started the market three years ago, and we’re still going strong,” she says. Both vendors and market-goers reached out to her asking for more events, which has fueled the expansion of new market spots.

As Alvarado looked to expand the market offerings this year, she chose the name La Paloma Marketplace to use across all three spots. Meaning “dove” in Spanish, she has adapted La Paloma to our local pigeon. The humble pigeon, which is the market’s logo, is also a symbol of home, explains Alvarado. Growing up, Alvarado raised homing pigeons. Since moving to Tacoma several years ago, she has watched the city return home to its name of the City of Destiny as the arts and commerce are revived and people again take pride in living here. Much like La Paloma, Alvarado feels she has found a home in Tacoma, and the markets have found a home here, too. “It just felt necessary to have this created in the community.”

Marty’s Typewriters
Marty’s Typewriters brings typewriters from across the last century to the Proctor market, lovingly maintained and ready for you to use. Photo credit: Gale Hemmann

What’s made her markets so successful? Alvarado is known for nurturing vendor talent and making sure the markets feel welcoming and comfortable to everyone. The markets foster a sense of camaraderie, making them accessible, doable and non-competitive for vendors. When a market is about to start, Molly says, “There’s nothing more rewarding than standing back and watching a line of people waiting to meet the makers. On the other side of the door, the vendors are there, waiting to see if people come.” After months of hard work and planning, she is clearly excited to see this new venture take off.

Alvarado is initiating a program for local high school students and retirees to volunteer at the markets. It’s a great way to get out and meet people and gain some good experience along the way. Also, local creatives are invited to come share their work in progress with the community at complimentary exhibit spaces. And the ever-busy Alvarado is partnering with local businesses such as Ice Cream Social to sponsor the market, with benefits ranging from advertising to booth space.

The markets are a win-win for the Tacoma community – not only are they Tacoma’s first public space for local makers, they bring foot traffic to the local businesses nearby. “Businesses are excited that we’re here,” says Alvarado. “It’s important to us to be a good neighbor. Streets stay open, and we think through each aspect of how we occupy space in the community,” she says. Alvarado puts her heart and soul into each market, and her goal is to make them “a lasting part of Tacoma’s arts culture, where local vendors have a chance to thrive.”

Sassafratz Vintage
Sassafratz Vintage is a market favorite, bringing an eclectic and fun selection of clothing, housewares and more. Photo courtesy: La Paloma Marketplace

As you plan your summer outings, be sure to put all three markets on the calendar. Each one will be different, and as Alvarado notes, they’re always evolving, with new vendors and exciting new aspects being added. Alvarado brings bustle and sparkle to everything she does, and with a great vendor roster, La Paloma Marketplace will be no exception.

To find out more about the markets, check out their website, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram. All three markets are wheelchair accessible and pet friendly.

La Paloma Markets – Summer 2018

Proctor – Launches Saturday, June 2 – Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Proctor and N 27th Street

Waterfront – Launches Thursday, June 14 – Thursdays from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Point Ruston Pavilion

Pearl Street – Launches Sunday, June 10 – 2nd Sundays from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at N 45th and Pearl Street

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