Are you one of the many Calgarians who've been enjoying the wonderful Inglewood Night Market? Would you like to know who's behind this unique, creative event? Here's the story of a tiny volunteer-based team that has been working around the clock to build an event that promotes fun, culture, art, local shopping and inner-city vibrancy.
It's also a story about a lot of work. This is my call for help! Read on to find out what we have been doing... and to learn how you can help keep the Inglewood Night Market alive.
Here's a picture of our team (plus a few poets) back when we were getting started two years ago.
The Vibrant Village Society of Inglewood & Ramsay
Back in 2012, inspired by the fearless leadership of Inglewood resident Meg Van Rosendaal, a handful of neighbours from the inner-city Calgary communities of Inglewood and Ramsay started the non-profit "Vibrant Village Society of Inglewood & Ramsay," with the mission of bringing fun "pop-up" arts & culture events to our hoods. We called our pop-up series find it. I've written a bit about how it all got started in this blog post - check it out for more details!
The Inglewood Night Markets
In 2013, our team came up with the idea of a Night Market. It seemed pretty evident that Calgarians wanted something like this! With a very short time frame, and in the midst of the 2013 flood, our tiny team managed to pull together the necessary permits to close off Inglewood's 10th Street, find a bunch of vendors who were willing to take a chance on us, and promote our event around town.
We certainly had a lot of help from neighbours and local businesses. Our amazing event partner Andy of Inglewood's Gravity Cafe loaned us $1000 up front to help us get started. The results were more than we could have imagined. People poured in. Local merchants had record nights. It was fabulous!
Now it's 2014 and our second market season is almost finished. Our September market will be the best one yet - DJ Reggie Suave, JUST DANCE on a giant screen, the Chinook Country Line Dancers, pedicabs, food trucks, and... as part of the annual Beakerhead festival, we're hosting El Pulpo Mecanico... an enormous flaming robot octopus. You don't want to miss this!!!
(Details on our website, by the way... www.finditcalgary.ca)
What We Do
Solita of ReWorks Upcycle Shop does our graphic design and makes our posters! Allison coordinates our volunteers. We're ALL volunteers, of course, but for a big event like the Night Market, we need a few more people to come out and help us get set up.
What kind of help do we need, you might ask?
Coordinating vendors: Our vendors arrive on the afternoon of the market, and they appreciate having a team member there to direct them to the right spot, let them know where to park, and provide any other information they need. Our vendor coordinator David not only helps vendors on the spot, he also developed an online process which vendors can use to apply to participate in the market and get signed up. He is amazing!
10th Street SE is barricaded off, and we make sure there's always someone watching each barricade to make sure no vehicles are trying to get through while the market's happening.
So, what can you do?
When we started find it, we were dreaming of doing all sorts of different cool artsy creative events. This summer, we've spent most of our time running the Night Market. We did it, and we loved doing it... but, at least on a volunteer basis, we can't keep doing this forever. Would you like to help? You would? Let us know! Come talk to us at the find it tent on Friday, at what we hope won't be the last Inglewood Night Market. We need you!