CLOVERDALE — Last August, the challenge for operators of Surrey Night Market was a massive wind storm that reduced the event site to a bunch a twisted tents, ruptured plumbing and scattered debris.
It was a big mess at Cloverdale Fairgrounds, and a decision was made to pull the plug on the market for the rest of summer, near the end of its second season there.
Today, market director Satbir Singh Cheema has the luxury of time to reflect on those storm-related struggles, and a decision by market operators to move forward with the event in 2016.
“There are some extra expenses, of course – new tents, all new plumbing, electrical,” he told the Now. “It’s just some extra work, that’s all. You know, you win some, you lose some, but the Cloverdale Fairgrounds people, they’re very supportive, very helpful. They go out of their way to make sure we’re a success, and that’s really nice.”
For its third season, Surrey Night Market will open for a 10-week period starting June 3.
Cheema said the “overwhelming support and good wishes” from the community has encouraged operators of the market to give it another go this summer.
(Pictured: Satbir Singh Cheema, a director of Surrey Night Market, in 2015. File photo: Tom Zillich)
Now, the struggle is to find enough quality vendors, and the right mix, for the 2016 market.
“We would like to get more vendors in, more merchandise vendors, preferably from the mainstream, because we want to have it be a total multicultural (event) and that’s what we are promoting,” Cheema said.
“If they show up, more people will be drawn in and there will be more variety. Want people in Cloverdale, in Surrey, to take ownership of this event.”
This year’s market will give a platform to non-profits to help them raise funds for their causes, Cheema said. This could include an on-site beer garden, if and when approval is granted by liquor authorities.
“Everything is in order (for a beer garden), but we need that final approval from Victoria,” Cheema noted. “It may happen, and again, we want to open it up to non-profits, charities.… We are open to help them any way we can.”
Cheema acknowledged some public criticism of Surrey Night Market for not having a good enough variety of vendors and attractions in its first two years of operation.
“We definitely want more variety, more items for sale, and that will bring more people,” he said. “Anything that attracts people is what we want – clothing, hats, shoes, household items, vintage items, decorations, handicrafts. We are also encouraging any non-profit to come, bring their stuff, sell it, raise some funds. We give (space) to them for free, but they need to make the effort to be there.”
At least 75 merchandise vendors are sought for the market this year, he added.
“That is over and above the food vendors,” Cheema explained. “The food is fine, we have about 20-plus (food vendors) right now and another 10 that will show up, including trucks, and we don’t want more than that.”
This year, the market will be open on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 11 p.m. and on Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. More details, including a link to a vendor application form, are posted at Surreynightmarket.com.