Chris Graham has been running the Bossier City Farmers Market for nearing two years but this fall he decided he wanted to do something unique, something that in his words, “had never been done before.”
With that in mind, he took the nugget behind the idea of the farmers market, changed it around and sprinkled some holiday flair on it to create the first ever Bossier Night Market.
“This is going to be the evolution (of the farmers market). You have the farmer’s market, this is the prodigal child. This is an open air street vendor market that will be lit up with Christmas lights,” said Graham.
The first of its kind Bossier Night Market is scheduled for December 16 and 17 and will run from 5-9 p.m. each night in the south parking lot of Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City.
He got the idea after traveling to Asia earlier this year and seeing markets that would pop up after dark and then get taken down before daybreak. He said with retail sales slower than usual for this time of year, he knew he had to be different to make an impact.
“The retail side of things have been slow the last half of the year so I wanted to do something. And to get a response like we have from the public when all we put out there was the idea with a picture, it’s been amazing,” said Graham.
He intentionally set the event to run the weekend before Christmas so it could be a one-stop shop for residents needing gifts. With vendors selling unique, one of a kind gifts and sporting booths that contain 400-500 lights, Graham is looking to create a festive atmosphere.
“It is the largest and, to my knowledge, only event on the last weekend before Christmas,” he said.
“It was really important to me in the design that when customers come, they take some time and look at every booth. I want the spectacle to keep them there so they walk away with a unique gift no one else has.”
The Night Market has received 500 applications from all across the ArkLaTex, with Graham narrowing it down to a select 200 vendors, plus six to eight food trucks. Vendors will be selling goods such as food, wood crafts, jewelry, art, clothing, accessories, decor, skin care, baked goods, hand made soap, and more.
“We will have people who have never sold their goods before. We’ve got a whole bunch of new people making things, everything from metalwork to artists,” he said. “And don’t get me started on the food.”
In Chris’ opinion, this is the ultimate expression of supporting local and shopping small.
“It doesn’t get any more local or small than a husband and wife who knit or do crafts and then sell them at events at like this to pay for their Christmas. There literally is no better way to express you support your local vendors.”
It’s that spirit that Chris hopes will create buzz and make the Night Market a success as he is putting the event on with his own money. For example, he noted that he will end up spending around $4,000 on power cords alone for the lights.
“This is me diving off feet first and seeing what happens. I’ll be risking everything and hopefully we’ll bring a great market to the area we can repeat,” he said.
With an expected attendance of 10,000-15,000 people, Chris has his eye on growing this into a regular event.
“Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or seasonally, we definitely plan on continuing this on a regular basis,” Chris said. “You have never seen a market like this before and it’s very important to be there for the first one.”
The event is free and open to the public.
Follow the event page on Facebook to stay up to date on market news and activities planned at the market at www.facebook.com/BossierNightMarket. Inf ormation about vendors and sponsorship can be found at www.BossierNightMarket.com.