By Karlene Skretting
Westwind Weekly News
Locals will have no reason to say they are bored on Friday night as Magrath kicks off their inaugural First Friday event from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Main Street.
The event is scheduled to run the first Friday of each month, May through September, and includes family friendly hands on activities, assorted vendors to shop, live entertainment and specials at Magrath businesses.
“The idea is to get the community together and support shopping local,” said Jay Mackenzie, event organizer and promoter. “It is about getting out and having fun with your family, meeting your neighbours and seeing what they are selling and distributing. It will be a fun market place.”
Mackenzie has attended and enjoyed First Friday events in other communities and sees the value in getting home based businesses out on the streets to connect with the community and possible future customers.
“A lot of these people (who will be vendors) wouldn’t be able to fit into the Farmer’s Market because of the 80/20 rule” where 80 per cent of the vendors have to make it, bake it or grow it to meet the Alberta Farmer’s Market mandate leaving 20 percent for commercial businesses.
It is just another local opportunity for people to sell their wares, regardless if they made it themselves or are a consultant for a commercial product.
“Really, it could be used for anything, even if someone wanted to use it as a garage sale they are welcome to come out and sell their stuff at a table.”
There will be a minimum of ten tables set up for people to browse and buy Friday including: Scentsy, Jamberry, Mary Kay, South Hill Designs, Watkins and Thirty-One Gifts. There will also be an individual selling hockey cards and other sports collectables.
“Interest has been quite high,” said Mackenzie, “with vendors coming all the way from Calgary.”
Aside from his goal of strengthening local businesses, Mackenzie said the evenings are just a “fun family activity and a great thing to do on a Friday night.”
For June there will be Filipino Martial Arts and sword fighting demos provided by Magrath local Peter Codizal. There will also be Archery in the Alley behind Studio 1 West and the Co-op, thanks to the Magrath Archery Club, where both young and hold alike can come and try their hand at shooting some arrows and hitting a bulls eye.
Both activities are free and equipment will be provided to participate.
Throughout the evening the Coulee Men will be playing a wide assortment of live music.
Local businesses on Main Street will also be having specials and promotions to take advantage of. Studio 1 West will have their clothing 20 per cent off and Susan’s Place is offering 99 cent ice cream cones with any other purchase.
It is too late to book a table for June, but for five-dollars individuals can book a table by calling 403-758-3535 and talking to either Jay Mackenzie or Tracie Smith.
There is the option to book for a single evening or the remaining three First Friday events on July 3, Aug. 7 and Sept. 4.
“The further ahead you book, the better chance you’ve got. I won’t allow any doubling up of vendos,” said Mackenzie about the only stipulation of who can have a table.
Mackenzie is hoping to receive support from the community, and surrounding communities, because if it is successful and takes off he can only see the event growing next year.
The event will run rain or shine. If it is poor weather the First Friday events will take place in the old Home Hardware building behind Roosters.