A new downtown outdoor market is hoping to open the doors to less-visible multicultural entrepreneurs.
Sponsored by Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society and Welcome PG, the first City Hall Market Fair on Aug. 31 will showcase the diverse local options available.
"What we would like to do, because we are sponsored by Welcome PG, is to show the community that we do have a lot of people who are there and who have special things to sell. But they need a venue to do it," said co-ordinator Brenda Langlois. "And it's going to provide the customer with a much larger selection of things."
Though the market, running Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in front of city hall, is occurring the same time as the Prince George Farmers' Market, Langlois said the new event isn't meant to be competition.
"The condition when I was booking the vendors was exactly this one: if you are with the farmers' market, stay with the farmers' market," Langlois said. "I don't want to empty the Third Avenue or the Sixth Avenue market, not at all. I just want to have the people who are excluded."
In order to be a vendor at the Prince George Farmers' Market, vendors must grow/raise, bake/cook or make their products.
Langlois said many of those showcased at the Market Fair have home-based businesses or "don't do what they sell."
"A lot of them, they bring items from their own country, so it's imported goods. Some of them just add value to what they bring from their country. Some of them are offering services," she said.
This opens the door to goods from China, Africa, Mexico Indonesia and India, to name a few. "I'm not in competition at all, and I don't want to be," Langlois said.
Prince George Farmers' Market president Maria Pennock said she hadn't been in contact with the Market Fair and wasn't sure how to feel about it.
"It's nice to have more people downtown," Pennock said.
In addition to vendors, the Saturday event will also feature music, dancing and other performances as well as ready-made food from South African and Iranian proprietors.
"Because we want to have a welcoming community, I think it's very important to give them the occasion to meet the local people and to interact with them," said Langlois.
If there is a strong enough response, the Market Fair could be a weekly, or at least monthly, occurrence running from May to October beginning next year.
"As for now, we have lots of vendors, we have a lot of interest in the vendor side," said Langlois. "We're going to see if the [customers] will be there."
For more information, visit www.cityhallmarketfair.vpweb.ca.