SUNNYSIDE —There was romance in the air at the opening weekend of Destination Sunnyside’s Farmer’s Market and Food Truck Park.

Local man James Rodriguez took the opportunity to surprise his longtime girlfriend Alicia Allen by proposing to her Saturday afternoon, surrounded by friends, relatives and park attendees.

“I was shocked,” Alicia said when James dropped to one knee in the middle of the park to pop the question.

“He took me out in the middle of the grass and just proposed,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting that.”

She should maybe have known something was up when all her Spokane friends showed up for a downtown visit at grand opening of the farmers market and food truck park.

“I just thought we were having a family outing,” Alicia remarked.

Even stage entertainer Abby Black was in on the surprise and sang the couple’s favorite song “Don’t Give up on Me,” as James proposed.

The proposal was the cherry on top of all the other exciting events held at the weekend happening.

“Several of our food vendors ran out of food the first day,” exclaimed event committeeman Aron Hunsaker, one of the 15- Destination Sunnyside committee members who worked on premier event.

The weekend, which opened with a myriad of activities for all ages, was centered around Centennial Square. “We attracted more than 1,500 people on the first day,” Hunsaker estimated.

“I was really pleased with the Friday evening activities; We still had people ordering food up to closing time,” he added.

The grand opening included a ribbon cutting ceremony, which included committee members, local community ambassadors and city representatives.

Those attending agreed the efforts were appreciated.

“It was fun to see all the people I know down here having lunch in the park,” said local dentist Dr. David Rodriguez, who was enjoying some food truck barbecue sandwiches with his daughter Arizona.

“I think this is a great start to revitalize downtown,” agreed longtime resident Joseph Resendez, Jr., who was visiting the food truck park with Sunnyside High School classmate Lisa Fairbairn. They stopped at the park to lunch while discussing their upcoming 40th class reunion.

Resendez said having the food truck park and farmers market open on Friday night is a bonus to entertain his fellow alumni.

“I’m looking forward to each new event,” Resendez commented.

The Farmers Market and Food Truck Park will be open from 4-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 and each Friday through Sept. 6.

The closing weekend will be held during Sunshine Days, Sept. 13-14.

As for the newly engaged couple; they plan to get married this time next July.

“We may even make a second appearance at the market,” Alicia said.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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