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No Main Street Festival in Smithers this year

Downtown Merchants recently disbanded. Wheels and Deals event organized for Father’s Day weekend.
Cars won’t be racing down Main Street tracks like they did in this Father’s Day 2015 weekend memory. The Downtown Merchants and its Main Street Festival are both on hiatus. (Chris Gareau photo)

There will not be a Main Street Festival this year.

The annual event hosted by the Smithers Downtown Merchants normally took place over Father’s Day weekend. In past years, Main Street would be closed to traffic and there would be music, food vendors, games and store fronts would have sidewalk sales. It was always a hit, with people packing downtown.

However, since the Smithers Downtown Merchants have disbanded recently, there is no one to organize it this year.

Former chair of the association Corina Brewer retired from the position last January because she is no longer a business owner on Main Street and said she will miss having it this year.

She said the merchants that helped organized it for the past eight years burned out. Despite there being around 50 members within the association, she said only a couple helped pull it off.

“One of the biggest problems that occurs with those types of events is that a few do the work for the many,” Brewer said. “These are people with families, these are people who have children and run their businesses and volunteer elsewhere, it is hard for people to give their time. So only a small group of people do the work, but all the merchants reap the benefits.”

She said it was exhausting and was a lot of work, leaving some burnt out.

“I’m surprised the Town or the chamber of commerce hasn’t stepped up to help the downtown merchants to keep it going,” she added. “People don’t realize it was the merchants who paid for the event and put it on.”

Manager of the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce Heather Gallagher said they have their hands full with other events and are stretched thin as it is.

“I want to thank the Downtown Merchants for their efforts through the years in providing a wonderful Main Street Fair,” Gallagher added. “Their tremendous commitment in volunteer hours is appreciated as are volunteer hours of people committed to all the local organizations that put on our local festivals, athletic tournaments and cultural events. Magic doesn’t just happen — it takes dedicated people to create it.”

Another event will be taking place this year on the same day the festival used to take place.

Wheels and Deals will be held on Main Street. The show and shine type of event will see new and old cars on display and there will also be a number of stores participating in a sidewalk sale. The day is being organized by The Interior News and Moose FM.

Brewer is hoping that the Main Street Festival can be revived one year and is worried that other events organized by the Downtown Merchants will also disappear.

“It will be really sad if Christmas in the Valley doesn’t happen as well — which is solely organized, executed and paid for by the merchants,” she said.

Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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