Hupacasath takes over as sole operator of Sunset Market

Shayne Morrow, June 12, 2017

The Hupacasath First Nation and their communications coordinator, Jolleen Dick, are bringing the Sunset Market back to Victoria Quay on June 21.

Port Alberni, B.C. — 

Hupacasath First Nation is inviting the public to celebrate National Aboriginal Day, Wednesday June 21, by taking part in the Sunset Market Season Kickoff. After one season at Clutesi Haven, the Market now moves back to its original home atVictoria Quay.

This year, the Market runs for eleven weeks, every Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 pm. through Aug. 30, according to Hupacasath Communications Coordinator Jolleen Dick. Also new this year, the Market is being run independently from the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“We are going it alone this year,” Dick said. “We gave them the opportunity to renew a partnership, and they decided ‘not at this time.’”

“We are thrilled that this is happening, and that is moving back to Victoria Quay,” AVCOC manager Bill Collette told Ha-shilth-sa. “Hupacasath has essentially run the Market for the past five years. Jolleen actually worked for us at the beginning. They got more and more involved and we got less and less involved, to where, last year, we had very little involvement.”

Collette added that in the first few years, the Chamber was able to provide some funding for entertainment, but budget constraints brought that to an end

As in past years, Hupacasath is leasing the space from the City of Port Alberni. Opening ceremonies include a performance from the Hupacasath Dance Group, with Marim Bam Buzz taking the stage at 7 pm. This year, there’s an added focus.

“We got a grant from [First Nations Health Authority] to celebrate an Aboriginal Day of Wellness,” Dick explained. “We’re still working on the details, but we’re going to have a Yoga session at 7:30. At this point, it is ‘bring-your-own-mat.’”

There will be a Bouncy Castle on hand for the children, and a free (vegetarian) barbecue provided by Teaz Me Teas, which is located right nearby on Margaret Street.

Dick said part of the plan is to sell more homegrown produce.

“We have expanded our Community Garden this year,” Dick said. “Our greenhouse has been leased by the [Canadian Mental Health Association] Healthy Harvest Farm, and we are now getting a second greenhouse to expand the farm.”

Watch for an expanded lineup of vendors this year, including a pastry chef from Tofino and blueberries from Avalon Farm, when blueberry season arrives. Great foods from Sunset Gourmet Products, and look for lots of jewelry and baked goods, both home-baked and craft-baked.

Victoria Quay is located at the foot of Johnston Road.