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Main Street Markets return to Smithers

Pilot project will see three outdoor markets, with entertainment this summer
The Smithers Community Band provides music during a Canada Day celebrations at Bovill Square. There is a pilot project to bring back Main Street markets this summer, which would see musicians and other vendors out near Main Street, similar to Canada Day celebrations. (Thom Barker/Black Press Media)

Main Street Markets will be making a comeback this summer.

The town, along with the Proton Foundation, will be starting a Main Street Market pilot program this summer. This event aims to support community-based participation in arts and culture, social services, and community economic development.

Three Saturday afternoons during July and August, Main Street between 3rd Avenue and Broadway Avenue will be closed off to encourage additional foot traffic in the downtown core. Merchandise vendors will be invited to participate, along with food vendors, and local musicians performing at Bovill Square.

The markets will be held in conjunction with other summer events such as the Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market and other revived downtown events such as the classic car show.

Previous downtown summer events were held prior to 2019 and this summer the event is planned as a pilot project for three market days.

Last week, Smithers council directed staff to provide a letter of support to the Proton Foundation for its Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Grant application for the 2024 Main Street Market.

The foundation is hoping to apply for a grant of up to $20,000 to support involvement with the event, similar to Canada Day. The grant would be used in a cost recovery model to hire musicians, entertainment rentals, and purchase supplies for the three summer events.

Director of Community Services Will George said the Town will be working with the business community, local groups and non-profit organizations. The plan is to hold the markets on July 20, August 3 and August 17, from 1- 5 p.m.

“There has been outreach to date to the downtown businesses, with survey responses indicating the business community would be in favour of this,” said George.

“This is not replacing the farmers market, or anything that currently exists. This would work in line with that. There has been correspondence with the farmers market, outreach to the Chamber, the downtown business improvement association— who is planning on hosting additional events this year. This is to support our downtown businesses. This grant will go towards kicking off this event.”

According to town staff, the pilot program will support community well-being and place-making initiatives in the community. This will be conducted through using existing facilities and highlighting local businesses.

Staff also noted this program aligns with the town’s strategic priorities including economic prosperity, community livability and partnerships.

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Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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