QVM turns up the heat in winter with a host of events and activities

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Brendan Rees

After a three-year hiatus, the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) is seeing huge crowds throng to its popular Night Market with about 28,000 visitors turning up every Wednesday.

Marketgoers have embraced the much-loved food event, which runs from June 1 to August 31, with the iconic sheds packed to the brim.

Wrapped in winter woollies, visitors have been treated to Melbourne’s best street food traders, brewers, distillers, artisans, and entertainment for the perfect midweek winter experience.

The nights have also featured roving entertainers and local musicians performing live on the main stage.

Christmas in July also proved popular with the market transforming into a festive wonderland with dazzling decorations, cheery carollers, and a snow machine.

In other celebrations, the market hosted the Indian Festival, a sustainable shopping tour (a guided hour tour of the market), and free workshops for kids during the July school holidays. CRFT*WRK, a showcase of contemporary, locally made crafts, will be held on July 30.

The market also turned back the clock on July 3 with a Rockabilly and Retro Market Day seeing a range of vintage cars including hot-rods and motorbikes roll into town.

For sweet-toothed fans, a local Australian-made chocolatier called Only Mine, officially opened its doors on July 2 at the new Munro development next to QVM.

The shop is the first for Only Mine in the CBD after the company was founded in 2015 by partners Anya Tran and Jason Stockton.

QVM CEO Stan Liacos said the return of crowds enjoying themselves and supporting stallholders at major weekend events and activities was “absolutely playing an important role in supporting our economic and financial recovery”.

“After a challenging start to 2022 due to ongoing pandemic impacts and volatility, there has been good progress in increasing visitor numbers in recent months, particularly on weekends where visitation is almost back to pre-COVID levels,” he told CBD News.

 

“We have been very pleased with the popularity of our iconic Winter Night Market”, he said, which “are doing a lot to reactivate our fabulous city mid-week”.

 

However, Mr Liacos said the market was continuing to experience “generally flat” visitation levels during the traditional week which he attributed to low office occupancies, some changed shopper behaviours, and relatively low levels of tourism, both domestic and international.    

That said, Mr Liacos noted, “We have definitely noticed an influx of shoppers in recent times who are looking for the more competitive prices and wide supply of fresh fruit and vegetables that the market has always provided.”

At a special celebratory function held at the Winter Night Market on June 29, Lord Mayor Sally Capp declared it was “simply brilliant” to see crowds return.

“We stand together in our investments, in our projects, in our initiatives and energising and supporting each other and knowing that we have a combined goal – not just to bring back that buzz because Melbourne’s got its mojo back … but to really strive to use this as a reset for something better and we feel that at Queen Victoria Market.” •

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