Lani Lott & Marni Marshall: To the Grass Valley Downtown Association Thursday Night Market we go | TheUnion.com

Lani Lott & Marni Marshall: To the Grass Valley Downtown Association Thursday Night Market we go

Other Voices
Lani Lott & Marni Marshall

The Grass Valley Downtown Association's Thursday Night Market is going strong with only two markets to go in this year's six-week summer series.

To some, the GVDA is still a mystery with folks not knowing all that this 50-plus year organization does. While others totally understand exactly what the GVDA is about, summing it up in one statement: "You make Grass Valley a cool place to live."

Like everything that GVDA does, the Thursday Night Market is a group effort and we would be remiss to not acknowledge the importance of the collection of dedicated, passionate people who work both behind the scenes as well as in front of the scenes. Let's start with Marissa Hernandez, who has programmed a wide array of dance and music activities throughout the markets, as well as coordinating the beer and wine garden.

Next is our tireless board president Haven Caravelli, who has been active in set up and creating the mural which is receiving so much attention and instrumental to putting the "fun factor" back in the market.

“We need more color and vibrancy in our Downtown. This team is working hard and having fun doing it! From paint on the walls, art installations to new businesses to dance and beautiful flowers.”

— Marissa Hernandez

Recommended Stories For You

The GVDA board and committee members, our downtown businesses, city council members, volunteer police department, and Grass Valley's loving inspired volunteers all contribute to the success of the market as well as the numerous other downtown events and activities that GVDA hosts each year.

So exactly what does it take to plan, coordinate and execute a three-hour weekly closed street fair for six consecutive weeks?

"We laugh and cry, sweat, dance and sing our way through the hard work of hanging signs, cleaning the sidewalks, sitting through countless meetings, phone calls, answering hundreds of emails, and so much more all for the love of our Downtown and to bring our fun events to our locals and tourists," said Hernandez, our program specialist.

She was inspired to pepper the market with new entertainment drawing on her connections to the dance and music world: hip hop, Fire Dance with the Sol Risers, Fusion Dance Fitness, Contortion, Belly Dance, Dance Hall, and Brazilian parades with Samba Lua. Buskers are also a part of the atmosphere and ambiance, alongside the music at downtown businesses, and has been graced with Nate Lossner, the Ruckrich Family Band and more.

"We need more color and vibrancy in our Downtown. This team is working hard and having fun doing it! From paint on the walls, art installations to new businesses to dance and beautiful flowers," Hernandez said.

GVDA Board members work hard to support this free community event doing everything from helping clear out storage to ensuring there are more public restrooms available, to raising funds and securing sponsorships, to checking in vendors, to working in the beer and wine garden. In fact, Board member Michael Larson has organized a photographer every market to be located at the Grass Valley Mural so that individuals could have a professional photo taken for free or a small donation.

Each week dozens of volunteers, that include members of the Grass Valley City Council and police department, downtown business owners and residents, set up and break down a market, alongside 100 plus vendors – all because they love downtown Grass Valley.

"Thursday Night Market has a local hometown feel," said Caravelli, our board president. "The new aspects of art, vendors and farmers add to the vibe. Marni and Marissa have brought the magic back into this hometown event. The proof is in the essence of it."

The experience of putting on events is one of loving the job. There is something so satisfying about providing experiences. The Grass Valley Thursday Night market has everything from craft and food vendors, downtown businesses, art happenings, a teen scene, entertainment, produce, non-profits and political organizations. We accept everyone to represent the range of our community.

We love to meet expectations and also to surprise people. Sincere thanks and appreciation goes out to the City of Grass Valley, the title sponsor of the event, and each week's sponsors for entertainment and the beer and wine garden. All these sponsors make this free community event possible.

Marni Marshall is the executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association. Lani Lott is a former GVDA director, owner of L.L. Consulting and a consultant for the GVDA.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Thursday Night Market

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, June 28-Aug. 2 (Certified farmers at 5 p.m.)

WHERE: Downtown Grass Valley (Main, Mill and part of South Auburn streets)

INFO: http://www.DowntownGrassValley.com or 530-272-8315