What’s held outdoors, brings in venders and entrepreneurs from around the island during the summer, and is a whole lot of fun? Why, the Sunset Street Market of course! Running throughout the summer months, the Sunset Street Market is an open air extravaganza that combines color, sounds and treats for all of your senses with a uniquely West Coast shopping experience.
Held from late June until early September, the Sunset Street Market is staged at the Victoria Quay in Port Alberni overlooking the wind rippled waters of the Somass River. A partnership of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Hupacasath First Nation (HFN), the market offers curious visitors and shoppers with a unique chance to view wares, handicrafts, produce and other tasty delicacies from across the Island and beyond, all while enjoying an almost carnival-like atmosphere.
Organized and managed by Jolleen Dick, who is also the Hupacasath First Nation’s Communications Coordinator, the Sunset Street Market features music, entertainment, recreational opportunities and a shopping experience unlike any found anywhere. Think an exotic market or bazaar, but with the added cultural richness provided by the event’s connection to the HFN and its timeless links to the region.
First organized by Dick in 2012, the response to the Wednesday evening activity was so positive she decided to return to her Port Alberni home permanently to help develop the concept even further. Her recent hiring by the HFN to oversee the community’s communications efforts was an added bonus to a lifestyle decision she had already made when she returned to her home town.
The Sunset Street Markets are held each Wednesday evening during the summer, from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM – with the last couple evenings in the late summer wrapping up a little earlier as the days begin to shorten. A joint initiative of the HFN and the Alberni Chamber, the Market has been created to help support local economic development in a fun-filled, relaxed and distinctive way – all while enjoying the beautiful waterfront setting. Typical activities visitors can expect to experience, aside from a vast number of farmers market style sellers, are musical performers, food vendors and access to the HFN’s cultural contribution. This includes operating the market near the Nation’s whaling monument and other heritage fixtures.
Typical vendors at the Market can vary from artisans, crafters, jewelers, non-profit organizations and general retailers operating their individual tables along the boardwalk with the entertainers performing in and around the Nuu-chah-nulth Welcoming Figures – providing a picture postcard West Coast backdrop. “It has really been embraced by the community,” Dick explained. “I want it to be a place to shop and get the whole experience.”