New association hopes to make Cloverdale a destination

The Arts and Entertainment Association is a member of the Arts Council of Surrey and the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce

Paige Hardy and David Chemago

Paige Hardy and David Chemago

Cloverdale’s Arts and Entertainment Association hopes to make downtown Cloverdale more of a destination.

The new association wants to promote the arts and entertainment in Surrey’s oldest town centre.

Both Paige Hardy and David Chemago, the association’s secretary and vice-president respectively, described Cloverdale as having a “small-town feel.”

“We’re proud of our small-town feel,” says Hardy, who owns Clothesline Consignment (5685 176 Street). “I think because we’re all independently owned and the majority of us live in the neighbourhood. You know, people that shop at my store are my neighbours. I see them in the park when I’m walking the dog. I see them at the grocery store.”

Because of that community feeling, the association is hoping to make downtown Cloverdale more like other small communities in the Lower Mainland such as Fort Langley, Steveston and Ladner.

Those communities, Hardy says, have been very successful at it.

I think that’s, kind of, our goal as an association is just to make sure that there’s always something going on in the area that’s unique.”

She added the Arts and Entertainment Association is looking at those communities for inspiration.

“We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”

Chemago, however, is looking internationally for more inspiration.

“I look at places like New York and all of the neighbourhoods there and markets they have.”

And Cloverdale’s Market Days have been one of their biggest community events.

The Market Days run from May until September on the last Saturday of each month.

This year, the Market Days – now going into its third year, will be able to close 176 Street.

Hardy says they’re encompassing more than just vendors and businesses. This year, they’re planning to have food trucks and more local art and artisans.

In regards to the food trucks, Hardy says the association will be respectful of what’s already in the area.

“If we’re bringing in food trucks, there’s not going to be a food truck here that sells sushi because we have a sushi restaurant. It’s about respecting what’s already here and working with the community.”

Chemago, who owns Six Technologies Inc. (5674 176 Street) and Cloverdale Coffee Co. (5674 176 Street), says closing the roads has been a learning curve, but people in the community and the city have been “really good.”

“The bigger the events become, the more structure you have to have in place; flaggers for the road closure and signage,” he added.

The community reaction to the new Arts and Entertainment Association has been great as well.

“I had a customer in the store, who’s an actual artisan, and she looked at [Market Days] last year and hummed and hawed about it, and this year she’s definitely signed on,” Hardy says. “She thinks it’s going to be bigger and better and it’s going to be more exposure for her, therefore worth her while.”

The museum and library have also been supportive of the Market Days over the years, but the association is hoping to work with a bunch of different groups.

“We want to involve the whole community of Cloverdale . . . We want this to be the town centre. This is the focal point – 176 Street – but we’re inviting all of Cloverdale to participate,” Hardy says.

Because the Arts and Entertainment Association wants Cloverdale to be more inclusive, they’re working on more entertainment for the community.

The association is hoping to get a community piano for the summer through the City of Surrey. So far, a location hasn’t been decided.

They’re also looking at pop-up art throughout the year to enhance the community.

To be able to do all of that, the association has been selling T-shirts and 100 per cent of the proceeds get put back into marketing and entertainment.

At $20 a shirt – including taxes – they have sold more than 500.

“We wanted to brand ourselves and because people are proud of their community, they want to buy a t-shirt that says Cloverdale on it,” Hardy says.

The association, which starts off at zero dollars in the bank, according to Hardy, plans to market themselves to get as much money as they can through sponsorship and membership to be able to put on these events in the summer months.

Talk about creating the association started last year, but didn’t fall into place now, says Hardy.

“I think we were ready now. The timing was just right in order for the markets to expand and grow to the place that we think that they could be.”

To find out more about the Cloverdale Arts and Entertainment Association, and their membership or sponsorship, visit www.cloverdale-ae.ca or email info@cloverdale-ae.ca.