THUNDER BAY, ONT. — The South Side Vibe is back bringing a sampling of Thunder Bay’s south core businesses through vendors, music, comedy and more this Saturday.
Co-organizer Lori Paras says after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they face some challenges having the event rekindled for this year.
“The event is aimed to invite the city at large and the local neighbourhood back downtown, meet the business owners and participate in a day of commerce and entertainment,” Paras said. “We found it very difficult to get money from organizations and we reached out but we were ghosted a little bit, so we did it on our own — we’re gritty south-side people.”
Businesses were charged a small fee for a table rental and not-for-profit organizations received the table free of charge. The event will be in Go Green EBikes parking lot at the corner of North and Violet streets, near Victoria Avenue.
“We understand people just don’t have the money right now, coming out of COVID, and we’re kind of still in it,” Paras said. “Our economy is really struggling, inflation is high. And I understand there’s no money, and we’ll be fine. We’ve done this on a dime.”
Paras says the event is not only important for business, “it’s important for mental well-being” as well.
“We’re still here. We’re still working our businesses altogether. We still have passion for it. We still have a community of people willing to support us, and it’s neighbourly,” she said, adding that it’s hard to get up and get going again after the waves of COVID-19.
The work in creating the event is reflected by the many people who come together to strive to make it happen.
“I never do anything alone. We just found the (physical) and mental energy and mental capacity to say, ‘we can do this,’ to give the community a really nice afternoon,” she said.
The South Side Vibe originated in 2019 when the south core began to grow with new businesses opening in the area. Paras says they wanted to invite the whole community to come out and meet the new business owners and entrepreneurs.
“It was very successful — and then COVID stopped us — but we’re up and running again,” she said.
“People are going to meet the entrepreneurs, meet our hip hop artists, meet some of our comedians on the south side . . . and experience our South Side Vibe of being a little bit gritty — rain or shine.”
The Dew Drop Inn will be on hand with their portable “travelling barbeque” as well as Timothy Sherlock, owner of Cold Slate Creamery preparing his signature rolled ice cream.
Also on tap will be live entertainment throughout the afternoon featuring Hip Hop artist Kross Kid, Webby D, Grimace the Butler; comedians, Taylor Green, Trevor Green, and the Pass Lake Princess Lee Noyes. The ThunderCon Cosplayers and local podcaster Thamichaelated will also be in attendance and there will be face painting for the children.
The Regional Multicultural Youth Council will be the event ambassadors making sure everybody is hydrated and looking after tables. Organizers will be wearing tie-dyed T-shirts created at Teena’s Tie Dye Tee’s, who will also be on hand as a vendor.
The South Side Vibe will take place in the Go Green EBikes parking lot Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal