A carnival of food and fun is coming to the GC.
Set to open in early 2018, The FareGround is being billed as the largest night market in Australia, and as a vibrant gathering place for locals and tourists alike.
Building on the success of their NightQuarter Helensvale venture, night market entrepreneurs Michelle Christoe and Ian Van der Woude will again transform an unused urban space on the Gold Coast into a buzzing night market.
They’re teaming with Queensland business identity Terry Morris to establish The FareGround, located on a two-hectare site adjacent to Mr Morris’ daytime Carrara Markets on the Gold Coast.
Launching in early 2018, the trio hope to make The FareGround a popular destination during the Commonwealth Games in April 2018.
“We have been inspired by old world fairgrounds, with their carousel rides, pastel Ferris wheels and vibrant sideshow alleys,” Michelle Christoe says.
“Into that world, we are bringing chef-driven street kitchens, eclectic bars, circus performers, live music and a dynamic array of vendors.”
Over 70 semi-permanent vendors, including 40 street food kitchens, will dish up an array of global flavours at The FareGround, combining fresh local fare with heritage recipes from around the world. There will also be 30 spaces for local arts and crafts stalls.
“With NightQuarter, we have seen that there is a demand for vibrant community spaces with high quality street food, drink and entertainment offerings,” Christoe says.
“The street food trend has had a huge impact on the Australian market. Where once the desire for casual dining in our fast paced lifestyles was only satisfied by fast food and takeaway, we now are seeking authentic, meaningful dining experiences in a casual environment. The FareGround will create these experiences, much in the same way as the hawker markets of Asia have been doing for centuries.”
A purpose-built entertainment area, catering to audiences of up to 750 people, will be a central feature of the night market. The stage will feature local artists, as well as national and international touring acts.
There will be dedicated stations for street performers, buskers, circus acts and theatre performers, and an amusement area for families with rides and fairground games appealing to kids both young and old.
The whole site will be licensed, with several eclectic bars stocked with fine wines, craft beers and cocktails, including Terry Morris’ own Sirromet wines.
The architectural design of the site aims to strike a balance between nostalgia and innovation, with whimsical images of fairgrounds and carnivals of days past mingling with upcycled materials to create something new.
“The space is being built around, and inspired by, a magnificent Moreton Bay fig tree,” Christoe says.
“At 250 years old, the tree pre-dates Captain Cook. The branch span is 40 metres, and is believed to be the largest Moreton Bay fig in the world. With string lights and seating under the branches, people will be able to sit and experience the beauty of this tree from a bygone era.”
The FareGround will boast seating for over 4,000 people, as well as 2,000 parking spaces, and is expected to provide employment for an estimated 650 people.
The FareGround will operate Friday night 3pm to 10pm, Saturday night 3pm to 10pm, and Sundays 1pm to 8pm. It will also operate on Wednesday and Thursday nights during school holiday periods.