Ucluelet’s Friday Night Market is moving to Sunday afternoons.
The market was launched in 2012 and attracts locals and visitors to a vibrant weekly scene at Ucluelet’s Village Green where live music is the background score for a buffet of locally-grown food and handcrafted wares from jewelry to clothing.
It is organized by the Ukee Friday Night Market Society. This year’s market will run from June 4 to Sept. 24.
During March 15’s regular meeting, Ucluelet’s municipal council reviewed a request from the society to move the market from Friday to Sunday. Coun. Marilyn McEwen was hesitant about the move because she feared it could hurt the market’s appeal to visitors.
“A lot of the tourists really love the Friday Night Market and tourists, typically, head home on Sunday so they’d be missing it,” she said.
Society president Katherine Loiselle was at the meeting and explained the market has an almost-entirely new board this year, with just one member remaining from last year.
She said the new members are hoping to rejuvenate the market’s vendor roster with a switch to Sunday as the starting point.
“We thought that we would have more vendor support and more vendor participation at the market,” she said. “Over the past few years, that’s actually been quite declining and our seasonal vendors from last year, most of them will not be returning.”
She said she reached out to vendors and received negative feedback on the Friday dates.
“It was either hard for them to vend because they were working throughout the week, or just the nature of the end of the week being quite busy,” she said.
Mayor Dianne St. Jacques supported the move to Sunday.
“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “You will get more people participating and, as far as visitors, I think they’ll come either time. They liked Friday, but they’d probably like Sunday.”
While council’s support for the move to Sunday was unanimous, so was their opposition to the society’s request to shut down Cedar Street in front of the municipal hall to make room for more vendors.
Coun. Mayco Noel said parking in that area can get congested, especially during the Ucluelet Aquarium’s season, and nixing that parking could get dicey.
“It could really get out of control down there,” he said.
St. Jacques suggested holding off on any road closures until the market can prove extra space is needed and added that Tugwell Fields could be considered if the market grows beyond its current setting.
“We’re looking for activity at Tugwell,” she said.