The first ever Area 506 Festival kicks off Friday night in Saint John as part of the New Brunswick Day weekend celebrations.

The goal of the event is to celebrate music, culture, innovative products and businesses in New Brunswick.

Ray Gracewood is the festival’s chair. He says he hopes the event will bring together New Brunswicker's from across the province.

“It's almost every corner of the province from a cultural perspective. So that's the Asian society, Irish, that's first nation groups,” says Gracewood. “From a brand perspective, we've got great partnerships with people like Mrs. Dunsters Donuts and Covered Bridge Chips and G.E. Barbour.”

Gracewood and a team of volunteers began planning the festival about a year ago and decided to incorporate a piece of the Port City.

“I think there's a trend internationally around shipping containers and the functionality of them. They are very environmentally friendly; they have a lot of uses,” says Gracewood.

The festival’s Container Village will showcase the province’s culture.

“Essentially we've built this shipping container village on Long Wharf in Saint John, where we've got over 40 different exhibitors, culture groups, towns within the province, brands, New Brunswick made products,” says Gracewood.

The Container village is free to visit and is open Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“You have to go down and see it,” says Victoria Clarke, with Discover Saint John. “You cannot imagine the scale of this; you've never seen anything like this before. When you walk through, the shipping containers are three high. It's a fortress of steel.”

Clarke says the event will have a positive economic impact on Saint John.

“We have invited all of New Brunswick, and indeed of New England as well, to come and celebrate New Brunswick and New Brunswick Day weekend here in Saint John,” says Clarke. “So the restaurants will see business, the hotels will see business and again we'll have another great opportunity for us to sell what is great about New Brunswick to ourselves and also to New England.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Blackford