Sun Peaks Market Day is returning this summer, albeit a few weeks later than in previous years. Various local vendors will be present as usual, but there will be special measures in place to reflect new provincial health regulations.
In March, the Ministry of Health designated farmers’ markets an essential service, but Sun Peaks Market Day is considered an artisan market since it doesn’t have the required number of food vendors, according to Tourism Sun Peaks CEO, Arlene Schieven.
The Sun Peaks market was given the go-ahead after restrictions on artisan markets were lifted on May 28.
It will run every Sunday between July 5 to September 27, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Village Walk, but due to health regulations, the market will look a little different than previously.
“We will have fewer vendors, more physical distance between vendors and a person on site to ensure there is no crowding,” wrote Schieven in an email.
The Sun Peaks events website also advises attendees to read COVID-19 safety information posted at the venue prior to entry and that there will be a limited capacity of people allowed.
According to Schieven, 13 vendors are lined up for the first market so far, as well as a live carving demonstration.
Sandra O’Neill of Riversong Agriharmonics has been selling herbal cosmetics and soaps at the Sun Peaks market since its inception over a decade ago. Normally she would sell her products at other markets in the region year-round.
“Until [early June] the only people that were vending at markets were people that were selling food, and even if you were a food vendor with a craft product, you could not bring the product to the market,” O’Neill said.
Food vendors have also had their business affected, despite their essential service status.
Kelsey Kashluba is part of a wife and husband team under the brand Fisherman’s Catch that sells seafood at the Sun Peaks market. She described the domino effects of COVID-19 on her vending, from delayed announcements on fishing and the closure of processing plants and trade shows, to difficulties accessing a new freezer to store her product.
Kashluba is hoping to reinvigorate sales by dropping prices on some of her items at the Sun Peaks Market Day and by modifying her selling techniques. She’s currently working on a website to allow for online sales and local door-drop delivery.
Incidentally, the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets recently launched a B.C. Farmers Market Online initiative to offer online shopping of regional market produce across the province. Schieven wrote that Sun Peaks Market Day, as an artisan market, would not be included under this purview.
“Come support the Sun Peaks Market Day; we’re up there for the residents’ benefit. Support the market and shop local,” summed up O’Neill.
Sun Peaks Twilight Market was originally planned for the evening of July 11, though this has been cancelled and a new date of Aug. 15 is yet to be confirmed.