Sackville’s mercantile community held an array of coordinated events to entice buyers this past weekend. Under the moniker “Midnight Madness,” many local shops remained open long past regular hours, attracting business late into the evening.
Advertized as the “local shop event of the year,” Midnight Madness began in the afternoon and attracted dozens of residents from the town to buy not only from shops, but also from vendors who were set up on the streets and sidewalks. Midnight Madness was originally designed as a way to encourage Sackville citizens to shop locally, a practice seen as becoming less common as the presence of major corporate retailers grows.
Midnight Madness shopper Raven Stephens said, “It’s nice to see the community getting together for this kind of thing.” A friend who had heard about the shopping discounts coaxed her out that night. “If I [had known] about this in advance I’d have done a lot more Christmas shopping. I mostly went thrift shopping, but there were a lot more people in stores along the way.”
Stephens also said it was “cool how many people came out to shop.”
Another shopper, Andrea Bell, echoed Stephens’ sentiment. “I loved the decorations and everyone was really inviting. It was just a generally warm atmosphere.” She further remarked that she had “never really seen anything like this in such a small community. Nothing like this happens where I’m from.”
Shops such as Earth and be. Style Your Life allowed customers to purchase many of their goods free from additional sales tax. The Salvation Army held specials particularly for warm winter outerwear, in addition to various other clothing categories.
Mount Allison’s International Society also partook in the madness with their annual “World Bazaar,” which offered visitors a display of hand prepared dishes and desserts originating from various cultures from around the world. The Bazaar brings students together in a celebration of international identity through food. This year, it took place at the United Church of Canada on Main street.
Ten countries were represented at this year’s Bazaar; among them were China, Germany, Norway, New Zealand and India. Adam Christie, the manager of international affairs at Mt. A, became the de facto lead organizer for the event after the previous head left for maternity leave.
“International education week is something recognized all across the country, something that typically happens in November, as [does] midnight madness, and we saw an opportunity to include the World Bazaar as part of our international education activities,” Christie said. “[The] events were so close on the calendar anyway, we thought to shift international education week to fit with midnight madness so that we could include the town.”
Tickets could be purchased at the door (one for $1), and then exchanged for food or mementos of cultural significance, such as temporary henna tattoos. The money from the tickets was given back to the student cooks that were representing their countries. Christie elaborated on the financial benefits for participants: “The international centre also handles reimbursement afterwards, since this can actually be a profitable institution for students.”
Christie also acknowledged the town for its partnership, and expressed gratitude to both the Anglican and United churches for supplying a venue for the event.