By David Judd
Vendors at Friday the 13th events will have six more hours to make money.
Until now, the scores of vendors on public property downtown have had to wait until Friday the 13th to sell their T-shirts, motorcycle gear and bottles of water.
But starting June 13, they also may open on Thursday nights from 6 o’clock until midnight.
The Port Dover Board of Trade, which co-ordinates vendors at the Elmer Lewis parking lot and on one block of Chapman Street, and the Kinsmen Club, which co-ordinates vendors in Powell Park and on Harbour Street, asked county council to approve Thursday night hours.
The groups hope the extra hours will make Friday the 13th more attractive for vendors from outside Norfolk County.
Vendors from outside the county must pay more than $1,000 in fees.
About half of the fees go to the county.
The Board of Trade and Kinsmen share the rest.
The two organizations depend on the fees to pay for portable washrooms for Friday the 13th and to pay the county for setup and cleanup.
The high fees have driven away about 30 per cent of the Kinsmen’s vendors, event chairman Paul Murphy said in a letter to council.
As Port Dover Coun. John Wells put it in an interview, “If you can’t make money what’s the point of coming?”
Extending hours on Thursdays may help bring vendors back.
Depending on the weather, Friday the 13th events draw between 200 and 300 licensed vendors.
Vendors from Norfolk County pay two or three times less in fees than vendors from outside the county.
Vendors set up late on Thursday afternoons.
The vendors who rent private land can begin selling immediately.
The vendors who pay for sites coordinated by the Kinsmen and Board of Trade on public property have been expected to wait until Friday to open.
But with crowds of people, including an influx of campers, checking out Port Dover on Thursday nights, vendors in Powell Park and on Harbour Street, on Chapman Street and in the Elmer Lewis parking lot have found it hard to resist making sales.
The new Thursday night hours will legalize sales that are already happening, Frank Sams, manager of parks, facilities and recreation, told county councillors.
Later this year, county council will discuss eliminating the county’s share of the fees.
The June 13 event is expected to be huge.
It’s the only Friday the 13th this year and the last one in warm weather until July 13, 2018.
County Manager Keith Robicheau assured councillors that road closures are authorized by the Municipal Act.
Parking motorcycles on the centre line of Main Street will be reduced to improve access for emergency vehicles.
Centre line parking will not be permitted between Nelson Street and Clinton Street.
Motorcycles will continue to park on the centre line from Nelson Street to Clifford Street.