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Friday night markets headline a summer of downtown fun

When it comes to summertime fun, Downtown Courtenay has cornered the market, so to speak.

A weekly "SummerNight" market is set to join perennial favourites like Market Day and the weekly Wednesday Comox Valley Farmers' Market, promising yet another reason to head downtown this summer.

The Comox Valley Arts Council and the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association (DCBIA) have joined forces to create this new and fanciful addition that's guaranteed to liven up central Courtenay on Friday evenings from July 7 through September 1. Offering a fresh, urban experience for locals and visitors alike, the Friday night market will run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Duncan Avenue between Third and Fifth streets.

"We saw a lot of interest and had a lot of fun in 2015 when we ran the monthly market pilot program, but we felt it didn't go late enough or happen often enough," says Kera McHugh, marketing co-ordinator with Comox Valley Arts Council. "So we're extremely excited to help bring the SummerNight Market to downtown Courtenay every week this summer. With it becoming a weekly event, I think we'll see even more growth and success."

Showcasing a variety of local merchants, artists, independent businesses and food vendors, each SummerNight Market promises a festive atmosphere filled with tempting foods, unique finds and general frivolity.

In addition to the expected 75 weekly vendors, the market will also feature buskers, DJs, theme nights and even a community learning tent that will offer organizations, individuals and businesses the chance to host free educational or awareness presentations.

Of course, July and August also mark the return of the ever-popular Wednesday morning Downtown Farmers' Market from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Although a location has yet to be confirmed, one possibility that's being explored is the former Thrifty Foods parking lot on the corner of England Avenue and Sixth Street. The midweek market has proven to be a favourite with customers and vendors alike, says Comox Valley Farmers' Market executive director Vickey Brown.

To apply to be a SummerNight vendor or busker, or to propose a presentation through the community tent, go to comoxvalleyarts.com/what-we-do/summernight-markets-downtown-courtenay-2017.

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