Mercado on Fifth kicks off its seventh season Friday

Mercado on Fifth will launch its seventh season at 5 p.m. Friday, May 26, and organizers are predicting another successful year for the summerlong Friday night outdoor marketplace first launched in 2016.

In 2022, the weekly festival boasted record attendance thanks to a number of updates that included a dedicated food-truck lane, bright new murals and the first-ever Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead Parade.

Mercado mural
Visitors of Mercado on Fifth look over some of the murals Thursday, Nov. 10, on the outdoor marketplace’s new building at 423 12th St., Moline. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Last year, organizers also predicted more of the same in 2023 for the market held every Friday on Moline’s Fifth Avenue between 11th and 12th streets.

In announcing the schedule for Mercado on Fifth’s 2023 Opening Day, which is sponsored by Deere & Co., Mercado leaders are promising “amazing sponsors, outstanding vendors, great entertainment, a new beautiful building” and “a new Mercado team.”

That team now is led by Maria Ontiveros, co-founder and interim director; Antonio Varela, communications director; Angelica Houtekier-Schnerre, event coordinator/bar manager; and Yolanda Cervantes, community navigator.

Under their direction, the weekly Mercado market – which this year will run through Friday, Sept. 29 – will again feature live entertainment and activities for children. Its goal, the organization said, continues to be to attract more people to the Floreciente neighborhood and increase community involvement and pride by offering economic opportunities to small and minority-owned businesses.

Admission is free. Mercado on Fifth will feature live music throughout the year including on opening night when the Glenview Mariachi perform. Friday’s 2023 launch also will end the night with La Sonora Santanera. 

Mercado’s new theme song, “Bienvendidos al Mercado” (or Welcome to Mercado) also is expected to be unveiled on opening day.

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