During the summer months, Frederictonians saw Carleton Street come alive with the Garrison Night Market that runs on Thursday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Vendors have booths with everything from plants and crystals to food and drink. As people browse, their senses are roused by lively music and grand performances such as stilt walkers.
Many of the vendors have formed meaningful connections with their customers.
Beth Fowler and Clay Bartlett, who have been friends since kindergarten, run a business called Big Sky Ventures. They make wine and jelly products using their homegrown Sea Buckthorn plants with healing properties. They have sold their products at the night market since it began in 2017.
The duo said it is a rewarding experience to hear how their products have helped people.
“It’s rewarding when they come back and they make a special effort to tell you how it’s helped,” Fowler said.
Sisters Jill Arbeau and Kelly Richard run the Oh So Sweet Bakery and are first time vendors at the Garrison Night Market. They had been looking to sell their baked goods at the night market last year, but it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though this was their first year there, they were quick to find loyal customers.
“We have some [regulars] that we know. They’re coming for the scones,” said Arbeau. “They come every week for a specific thing.”
The sisters explained that they appreciated that the night market was usually very busy. However, that was not the case for other markets where they sold their products in the past, which presented challenges for them as bakers.
“We do bake everything fresh,” Arbeau explained, “so we don’t save anything over to another week.”
Arbeau explained that going from having to take home a lot of their product to sometimes even selling out at the night market was exciting.
According to third-year St. Thomas University student Ana Cañarte, free tote bags given out by Fredericton Transit and the performances were two of the highlights of the market.
Cañarte said she even felt a connection to her home through the night market, as it made her reminisce about going to markets in Colombia with her mom.
“I like the fact that the night market had those little shows and music,” said Cañarte. “The farmer’s market is more like shopping for veggies and getting plants for my house, [but] I think the night market is more of a social vibe.”