BY MELANIE ULLE
There is just a boatload of greatness pouring out of the small narrow sliver we call Sun Valley, a neighborhood which includes the city’s football stadium, Meow Wolf, a major Denver Housing Authority redevelopment, and Denver’s first Latino-owned brewery, Raices Brewing, among other cultural, food and drink phenomena. It’s one of Denver’s most diverse areas and sadly, many may drive right over, or through it without even recognizing it as a stand-alone neighborhood because of its challenging and historically disjointed street grid. Zoned as industrial right after the turn of the 20th century, housing was not prioritized, which added to the challenges for families in the area. Bordered by 20th on the north, 6th Avenue on the south and hugged tight between Federal and I-25 the neighborhood’s accessibility has been one of its foremost challenges to growth, sustainability and investment.
But that’s changing. Sun Valley is on the rise, and several nonprofits are doing the great work needed to make sure you can’t ignore the neighborhood, an anchor of this great city, for one more moment. This groundswell of activity is being driven by partners including West Colfax Business Improvement District, Westside Stadium Community Coalition, Sun Valley Youth Center, West Denver Renaissance Collaborative, Sun Valley Kitchen + Community Center, the Latino Cultural Arts Center among others.
As these groups and others build strength from within the community, those of us outside this narrow corridor can get in on the action. Help send even more energy to this engine of change by introducing yourself to Sun Valley by way of what I believe is the coolest growing event in the city.
Pull out your phone, or dust off your paper calendar and delete/erase all the high school and college graduation parties you currently have scheduled for May 20, 2023. Your hosts are young, and they don’t care if you actually show up. It’s fine. You only received an invitation because their parents wanted you there and honestly, they’ll be too busy pulling vape pens out of the hands of your future employers to notice that you went to a better event that night.
The Sun Valley Viaduct Night Market is from 4 to 10 pm on the 20th featuring local chefs, artists, crafts people, and entrepreneurs from across Denver, bringing live music, family-friendly games, beer served by local legend, Raices Brewing Company, and over 30 food vendors and trucks. This is our opportunity to hang out under the viaduct, have fun, enjoy cuisines from all over the world, and support this beautifully diverse and rich community. And it’s at night!
Night markets are wildly popular in Asia and now becoming all the rage in the U.S. There is something about the evening that makes everything a little cooler, sexier, and dare I say…yummier. We’re seeing night markets in Portland, Queens, Los Angeles, Raleigh and more rolling out across the country each year.
Known for their late, late, late night markets, Asian countries have been in the game since the beginning of time. Okay, that’s hyperbolic, but definitely since the Tang Dynasty in China. Friends, couples, families meander through the open-air bazaars eating, drinking, and shopping, often trying new things that aren’t typically on the menu at home. Scorpions, tarantulas, or intestine soup, but unlike a Taiwanese market, I expect more of the Colorado items we know and love from our hometown at this upcoming fest. But in case any future vendors are reading this, I would destroy some tripe soup.
Hosted by the Sun Valley Kitchen + Community Center, the West Colfax Business Improvement District and the Denver Streets Partnership, the event is part of the West Denver Rising Initiative’s international marketplace series, which also includes Lunar New Year, Chile Fest and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Regardless of what part of Denver you call home, please support our neighbors in Sun Valley who are making us cooler and better and let’s make night markets a permanent fixture in our city. Learn more about the event at https://sunvalleyrising.com/.