A Roger Brooks video, detailing the strengths and the weaknesses of navigating Sunnyside, is the basis for a grassroots movement set to shake up our snoozing downtown area.

The video, commissioned by Sunnyside’s community development committee, has morphed into a new nonprofit group — Destination Sunnyside. The movement’s founders, led by businesswoman Lori Gardner and volunteer Natalie Copeland, have planned a summer of music and food… all designed to attract families and out of town visitors to Centennial Square to enjoy all that our downtown has to offer.

Next weekend, (July 26-27) Destination Sunnyside’s first big community activity — a combination farmers market and food truck park — opens at Centennial Square.

Not only will visitors enjoy the produce stands and popular food trucks over the weekend, but they’ll be encouraged to visit the variety of small downtown shops open every day of the week all year. They’ll see the store fronts available for more niche shops, perhaps being moved to invest in the historic downtown area.

The Brooks video, while pointing out areas where the community needs to spruce up its appearance, focused on making the downtown a gathering place for families and businesses… the theory being, “If we make it attractive and fun, people will come play and stay,” to steal a Field of Dreams reference.

For a city full of food trucks, developing a food truck park is a natural concept for our town. Having the culinary entrepreneurs gathered in one spot is a chance to explore food opportunities we may have overlooked.

Pulling together an event to attract all portions of the community, as well as outsiders, is a huge effort and one not to be taken lightly.

If the Destination Sunnyside core group has success at this venture, and we sincerely believe it will be a hit, then more events will follow in the city core.

The event, which will continue each Friday, is sure to spark a renaissance in downtown Sunnyside.

We are all for that.

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

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