At this time of year in Melbourne, we have some pretty unstable and often unexplainable weather. A couple of weeks ago it was unseasonably warm. A few days after that we had a cold snap and I had to dig the heaters our of storage. Then today there has been a heatwave of 40.9 degrees Celcius! That’s 105.6 degrees Fahrenheit! Making today the hottest November day on record…and summer is still five weeks away. But last night, Melbourne seemed to be able to find a little stability and put on a gorgeous hot evening for the first Queen Victoria Summer Night Market of the season.
For my regular viewers, you will know that I have been a huge fan of the night markets regardless of the time of year. And, throughout this year I have been invited to attend the media events put on by the market. I have also been fortunate enough to have attended the night markets on many occasions with my friends and my photography group. It is such a great event and I attend at any opportunity I can. Remember, the night market runs pretty much all year round with short breaks in between seasons.
The Queen Victoria Night Summer Market is housed predominantly in the giant Shed K of the market grounds. These market sheds have been around for decades and I remember shopping under them for goods with my family when I was a young boy. They are literally giant open-ended steel sheds with giant steel support beams and iron roofs. The night market also spills out into the covered and uncovered areas of Sheds RK and LK and finally Sheds L. Later in the season, especially once Christmas holidays kick in, the market usually doubles in size with even more sheds being opened to cope with the staggering size of the crowds attending.
However last night was a great start to the Summer Night market with a pretty decent crowd turning out. Along one whole side of the giant shed, was a long line of food vendors selling everything from fresh oysters and Bao Buns to roasted meats and giant sausages in rolls. Everything looked and smelled so fresh it was really hard to not be distracted by it. And it seemed that there was food from every culture on the planet. The whole shed was filled with the smoke and steam from dozens and dozens of barbecues and grills. And the setting Western sun lit those smoke particles to fill the space with amazing light.
One the other side of the shed there was an array of vendors selling traditional market wares such as jewellery, hats, clothing and gifts. Here and there you would see a store selling freshly squeezed juice or amazingly fragrant coffee. The Queen Victoria Summer Night market opened at 5pm and it did not take long for small manageable queues to form outside of the various food vendors. Given how hot the night was, there were a number of bars scattered around the market selling Brick Lane beers, cider and a variety of wines. These spots were very popular but there was no sign of an excess of poor behaviour as a result.
And that is one thing I love about these Queen Victoria Night Markets. They are incredibly safe and fun events. There is such a vast mix of cultures – something that is very Melbourne. Couples meet for dinner, large family groups will gather on the large tables for a big meals and friends will unite to share their day over a hot meal and a cold drink. There are often street performers around to entertain the crowd and there was a great DJ providing a perfect background sound score for the night. The market runs until 10pm and by the second half of the night, it gets pretty busy. So if you want to get food then try to get in early.
Another great bit of news is the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market 2019 runs from now until 11 March 2020. This gives you plenty of time to round up a group and get down to the market on a Wednesday night. It is open every Wednesday night during that period excluding Christmas and New Years Day. If you want a fantastic mid-week social experience that is family-friendly and open to all, then do yourself a favour and get down to the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market 2019.