by David F. Rooney
There’s a New Moon rising above our city this month, over Mackenzie Avenue to be precise, as the Chamber of Commerce prepares for a day-long festival downtown.
The September 19 New Moon On Mackenzie, as it is being called, is intended to inject new life and excitement into the downtown shopping experience and help businesses recover from the hammering they suffered in June and July due to the Grizzly Plaza Expansion project.
“We’d like this to be a real hit,” said Chamber Executive Director John Devitt. “We really want to get the ball rolling in a progressive way to encourage people traffic downtown. We’ll be going out door-to-door this week to let people know there’ll be street closures and to talk about what merchants can do to make this a real success.”
The closures will affect Mackenzie from Victoria Road to Third Street, First Street from Orton to Boyle and Second Street from Mackenzie to Connaught. There will be lots of music with bands and buskers playing at the bandstand, at First and Orton by The Cabin and at Boyle and Second, Devitt said.
EZ Rock DJ Steve Smith has volunteered to lineup musicians and bands and Devitt said Havoc Way, the Rev and Kitchen Party have agreed to perform.
As well, the Chamber is encouraging the Farmer’s Market to extend both its hour and its area for this one day event.
Farmer’s Market Manager Janice Jarvis said vendors will be canvassed this weekend and a decision likely will be made in the middle of this coming week.
“The Chamber would like us to extend our hours and to move vendors down along Mackenzie to Second and even Third,” she said, adding that if this happens it will require some diplomatic juggling. “The cafes won’t want the coffee roasters in front of their shops, the pottery people won’t be able to set up in front of the kitchen store and the baked goods vendors won’t be able to sell in front of the bakery. So there’ll be some juggling. That’s what I’ll get to do.”
Devitt said this will be a family-friendly affair so there will be no beer garden, but he’d like to see restaurants and bars offer samples of their food to people downtown. The Visual Arts Centre is being asked to find some artists willing to set up easels and demonstrate their skills and buskers will be encouraged to play for the crowd.
“We’re also hoping that this will help drive (people) traffic to the United Church that evening when the Arts Council has Kevin Fox performing in concert,” he said.
Devitt is looking for creative new ideas for activities and ways to interact with people downtown. Extending the Farmer’s market is one such idea, holding an “Artists’ Yard Sale” is another. Gwen Lips, owner of Castle Joe Books and an artist herself, is encouraging all local artists to dig through their supplies and bring down those items they’d like to sell. (Call her at 250-837-3353 or send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.)
If you’ve got a great idea for a display, stall or activity contact John Devitt at the Chamber of Commerce, 250-837-5345 or email@example.com.