.By Ellen Zoe Golden .Photo courtesy: Tamarindo Night Market
Every Thursday, in the parking lot of Plaza Palmas which is the location of Tamarindo Fitness, a group of independent vendors have come together to sell merchandise, art, and food all set to performances that celebrate Tamarindo and Costa Rican cultural diversity.
The Tamarindo Night Market takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. and is filled every week with visitors.
The organizers of the event are Alejandro Lopez Hernandez, Janet Park, and Sheldon Silverman, owners and members of the Tamarindo Kitchen Cooperative, a shared kitchen and product incubator located right at Plaza Palmas. In the Cooperative, which boasts nine members, López and Park own Beach Brew Organics and Jardin Oro, purveyors of organic beverages and products while Silverman has One Love Donuts.
“We created the Night Market for many reasons,” explained Silverman. “We wanted to provide another revenue stream to small businesses including those with a storefront presence and those without, and bring them all together for a night.”
Added Park: “We are active entrepreneurs and have a passion for encouraging small local businesses. We do this because we are big believers that small businesses are key to a healthy local economy. We believe that there is no place for competition, and cooperation is the new paradigm of business. There is plenty for everyone in this thriving beach town.”
They both feel that the Night Market is a draw for families, as well as people of all ages including tourists. It’s affordable, and relaxing, designed for commerce as well as to those who want to set up a chair on the grass, take in the sights and listen to the music.
Just what differentiates this market from the Feria on Saturdays? Silverman talked of the entertainment showcase being a unique factor with normally two to three acts each week, and that every food truck in town shows up as well. Of course, the evening temperatures are appealing, and the cheap eats—all priced between 1000-3000 colones—is another feature.
“Out of our 40-some vendors, slightly less than half do not do the Saturday morning market so you’ll see a whole new group vendors at the Night Market along with your favorite vendors from the Saturday Feria,” he affirmed.
Handmade crafts and food are prevalent throughout the stalls, and Park said, “It’s hard not to be impressed by the array of hand-made jewellery and the stunningly intricate pieces made by hand. Get to know these eccentric and wonderful people; how often do you get to speak with the person who made what you are about to wear or eat? We even have a young glass blower who creates the most beautiful pendants and pipes. The selection of baked items has got to be the best in town. The French bakeries have the Market cornered with their huge selection of delicate and delicious pastries but Julia’s yucca cake and other Costa Rican favorite baked goods definitely take the cake!”