Huge turnout for first downtown Nanaimo street market

By Ian Holmes
June 21, 2018 - 10:50pm Updated: June 22, 2018 - 7:25am

Victoria street performer Akron the Bizarre took centre stage during the Commercial Street Night Market. Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

70 vendors were set up for the first Commercial Street Night Market, selling everything from arts, crafts, pottery, clothing, jewelry and food.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

Nanaimo Chamber president Kim Smythe estimated more than 3,000 people in total took in the first Commercial Street Night Market Thursday night.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — It was a drastically different look and feel for downtown Nanaimo, as an estimated 3,000 people converged for the inaugural Commercial Street Night Market.

70 vendors selling a range of items, combined with entertainment, including a well received street performer, attracted people of all ages Thursday evening.

“The shop owners are all gleeful about what's going on, I just can't express how happy I am about how the evening is turning out,” said Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce president Kim Smythe.

Smythe said it was great to see people who normally don't venture downtown supporting the local business community. He said downtown Nanaimo has gotten a bad reputation, but said there are many positives for what he called a clean and safe place to be.

“You don't erase the undesirable stuff and leave a vacuum there, what you try to do is build at what you have and try to create an attraction with an event like this.”

NanaimoNewsNOW spoke to several people about the experience, with reviews largely positive.

“It's well attended, which is awesome, there's lots of different types of vendors, good shopping and a good place to hang out with other people and run into people you know,” Christina Renneberg said.

Monica Ciolfi was also impressed, but had a suggestion shared by many.

“It's a nice variety of vendors, I just think some meal trucks would be really nice, I think they'd do really well here."

The limited number of food trucks in Diana Krall Plaza was referenced by dozens of people we spoke to.

Smythe heard the same message and assured there would be more food trucks for future markets.

He also said there would be an increase in vendors.

Most Commercial St. retailers were open during the night market to take advantage of the surge in traffic, including restaurants.

The Commercial Street Night Market sees Commercial St. closed down between Terminal Ave. and Church St. on Thursday nights for the next 10 weeks.

More information about the market, organized by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, is available here.



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