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Area 506 Waterfront Container Village in Saint John opens for its third season

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The May long weekend has always served as the unofficial kickoff to the summer season for Canadians. In Saint John, N.B., the new season is marked by the opening of the Area 506 Waterfront Container Village.

The popular uptown destination is entering its third year on Water Street, featuring a large variety of vendors, food, and entertainment options for residents to enjoy all summer long.

“We couldn’t have asked for better weather and the people came out in droves,” says Area 506 founder, Ray Gracewood, on opening weekend.

“We had thousands of people through the gates, the concerts went well, and all of the new improvements have been very well received. There is a great energy and enthusiasm for the rest of the summer so things have gone great.”

Gracewood says the opening weekend of the village served as a celebration for the upcoming season, highlighted by a cruise ship coming into port for the village’s opening day and a pair of weekend concerts featuring SLOAN and Pretty in Pink.

Those who often frequent the village will notice some changes this year. The area has added directories on either end of the village to help guests map where they want to visit within the grounds. The Area 506 bar, better known as “The Docks”, also has a revamped look this season moving the container directly across from the main stage.

New directories within the Waterfront Container Village in Saint John, N.B., help better guide guests on where to visit. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)“Every year we kind of look at what worked and what didn’t work so well and what are improvement opportunities,” says Gracewood.

“Last year the area was well received, so we took the next step and built a permanent bar working with some local partners here that just did an amazing job. Now we have a great spot to enjoy a nice cocktail or cold beer so it’s been a great addition.”

Gracewood also points out the work done by some local artist to bring more vibrancy to the space. Fabiola Martinez was brought in to bring more life to the area’s food truck area, while French artist OAKOAK brought some extra colour to the vendor section of the village.

The village features over 25 unique vendors, some of which residents have come to know over the area’s three years.

Pat Bryant of Harbour Emporium is one of those vendors who has been on the ground since day one. He says the village has improved each year since the initial opening, and is looking forward to another great season.

“It’s great down here,” says Bryant.

“We have a good time, all the vendors get to know each other and we all sort of help each other out and we all look forward to it”

Other vendors are gearing up for their inaugural season on Water Street. Water Yeti Co. is one of the vendors, specializing in handcrafted goods designed by Geordan Moore. Lori MacDonald was working the container for the holiday Monday, and is excited for her first summer working in the village.

“The first few days of 506 has been exceptional,” MacDonald says.

“We were really excited to come to see all the people come in off the ship (on Thursday), but the local people have been exceptional and really welcoming. We are very excited about the prospects of having a fantastic summer and carrying that right into the fall.”

Residents were also eager to see the village gates open for another season.

“I’m very excited that it is open again,” says resident Robyn Hachey.

“I’m looking forward to Canada Day here.”

A seating area located just in front of the Waterfront Container Village main stage in Saint John, N.B. (Avery MacRae/CTV Atlantic)“I’m very excited to see the community get together with all the fun colours and excitement and entertainment,” Laura Finney says.

“I’m very excited for ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Candy World,’ we do love our local businesses so we are very excited to see them back.”

“The movies coming up,” is what a young Rebecca Hubbard told CTV Atlantic when asked what she is looking forward to this summer in the village, referring to the movie nights hosted on the container village’s big screen beside its main stage on Wednesdays.

On top of the movie nights, Gracewood highlights the dozens of concerts taking place throughout the summer, trivia nights on Thursdays, and of course the two big festivals taking place later this summer in Boxcar Country Music Festival and the Area 506 Festival.

“The marquee festivals are the biggest things on our calendar,” says Gracewood. “There is always lots of stuff going on down here at the village and we just can’t wait to get the summer underway.”

The Area 506 Waterfront Container Village is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with those hours extending when a cruise ship is docked in port.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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