Destination Illinois: Moline’s Mercado on Fifth

Destination Illinois

ROCK ISLAND, Il. (WHBF) — Food and family fun are things you can expect at Moline’s Mercado on Fifth, the outdoor market and fiesta that’s been going on for five years now.

“It was originally an idea from my grandfather Bob Ontiveros who grew up in the Floriciente neighborhood right next door,” said Maria Ontiveros, Mercado on Fifth President. “It was his goal to develop a market that would spur economic development, and also create a gathering space for the community.”

The food, music and games of the Mercado, as it’s known today, did not start out as such. It started as a farmer’s market. El Mercado’s Treasurer Chris Ontiveros credits the community for helping it make a much need transformation.

“They wanted to do something at night,” said Ontiveros. “So, we moved the event to evenings versus during the day. We went from twenty guests, to fifty, to one-hundred, to five-hundred, to a couple nights last year we had a couple thousand.”

Historically, the Mercado has been an outdoor event in downtown Moline. But, by the end of 2020 visitors can anticipate a new indoor edition. Mercado on Fifth staff have not dictated what the new building will feature, as they want the community to make it what they want.

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