Central Hastings retailers have thrown their weight behind the city's new night market initiative with about 20 stores in the CBD deciding to keep their doors open late when the weekly event kicks off tomorrow evening.
The retailers hope visitors to the weekly market, in the city's central square, will stay in town to shop after indulging in the food, crafts and entertainment on offer.
The market, set up by the Hastings City Business Association (HCBA), is being promoted as a celebration of the best local artisan producers and artists have to offer, provided in a safe, family-friendly environment.
Food vendors and craft sellers have also shown a willingness to take a punt on the initiative, with 41 stallholders paying an average of $50, and up to $150, per week for spaces within the tents and marquees being set up for the event.
The inaugural market night has been timed to be part of Hawke's Bay's Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C!) Summer Series of culinary events.
HCBA general manager Susan McDade said there was a "very high quality" of vendors lined up for the market which will run every Thursday night from 5pm to 9pm and she was confident there would be strong public interest.
Alcohol will not be sold at the market.
Among the stall-holders at tomorrow's events is Hasting's Brendocs Smokehouse Cafe which will be selling its signature dishes including baby back ribs.
Co-owner Dawn O'Dea said as an emerging business, the night market was an ideal way for the cafe to promote its menu and catering services to potential customers.
Tomorrow's launch event will feature a performance by the band Stolen Records, a "high pressure cook off" competition and the release of 300 helium balloons.
Vendors who have signed up as stall-holders have included businesses from as far away as Taupo.
A similar market has been running in Rotorua for more than three years and vendors and local retailers have said it has had a positive impact on their businesses.
HCBA's activities, including setting up the night market, are funded by a compulsory rate on central city businesses. Two marquee spaces are being offered each week to non-profit community groups on a rotating basis.