SURREY – Probably more than most people in Surrey, Satbir Singh Cheema and his business partners hope forecasts for a warm, dry summer here are accurate.
No question, nice weather could make for a nice return on their investment in Surrey Night Market, which begins its second season Friday (May 29) at Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
Earlier this week, the parking lot just west of the Agriplex was abuzz as crews installed rows of sinks for use by the market’s three dozen food vendors. Add to that 55 merchandise vendors and Cheema is stoked to get the market started.
"It’s better this year, with more merchandise vendors, better quality, more stuff," said Cheema, a director of the market along with Jazz Narula and Garry Grewal.
"Everything is on track and everyone is supportive – Fraser Health, the city, bylaws, the fairgrounds people. Everybody wants to help out," added Cheema, who serves as the market’s media spokesperson.
In 2014, the inaugural market was initially met with long lineups and some mixed reviews during its two-month run, on Friday and Saturday nights from July to August.
This year, Sunday has been added each weekend, and the market will run longer, from May to mid-September. Nightly, the hours of operation will be from 6 to 11 p.m. "We were happy with the feedback we got, and we learned some things," Cheema said. "There were some hiccups, some things we didn’t think of, and people helped guide us through – do this, do that. One thing, we added more booths to (reduce) the long lineups to get in."
An average of close to 3,000 people attended the market each night last year, Cheema said.
A beer garden will not be part of the market this spring, despite the idea being floated by operators.
"A lot of people didn’t want it here, and we want to respect that," Cheema said. "A lot of people also told us they did want it, but we decided not to rock the boat and will keep it as a family-friendly event."
The market will feature multicultural entertainment, with no payment for performers.
"We want to keep it that way because we want to promote local talent, to give them a chance to perform and promote themselves," Cheema explained.
"Anyone who wants to perform can come and get a spot, and it’s almost full now."
Admission to the market is $2, or free for war veterans, families of Canadian Forces personnel, kids less than 48 inches in height when accompanied by an adult, those in wheelchairs and seniors over the age of 75.
For more details, visit SurreyNightMarket.com or call 604-805-3440.