Salmon Arm’s nightlife isn’t non-existent – but it’s also not exactly thriving.
During the 2018 re-branding of the city, which coined the phrase “Salmon Arm: Small City, Big Ideas,” a study of Salmon Arm’s strengths and weaknesses showed a lack of a steady nightlife in the city.
There are, however, many events and spaces for nightlife to happen, organized by hard working groups to offer some excitement.
From Roots and Blues to weekend concerts at the Nexus at First, performances at Shuswap Theatre, Silverbacks games or a brew at one of the local pubs – it might not be the standard city nightclub scene, but it plays to the strengths of a tight-knit community.
“My goal and my hope is to have more of a downtown nightlife in Salmon Arm,” says Esther Neustaeter, assistant manager at the Salmar Classic. “Whether we can encourage shops to stay open a bit later in the summer, or just have more stuff going on in public spaces downtown, I think it would be fantastic. It creates community and it gives people something to do.”
The Classic is a popular spot for cultural events, community gatherings and presentations, and Neustaeter says it is rewarding to see the results of bringing the community together.
“Just being able to watch people connect with an old friend is so great. They’re all hugging, and during the shows everyone is interacting and it just creates a nice community feeling where people can let loose a bit because they are not just sitting at home,” she says.
Ivan Garcia, owner of Cantina Vallarta in Salmon Arm, says to him nightlife isn’t about extravagant parties, but connecting with people in the community. The restaurant hosts a Salsa Dance Night every second Saturday, and the free event is aimed at simply bringing people together to try something new.
“It’s really important to try and gather with all your friends and have fun. It doesn’t mean you have to go and spend money, you just go out and enjoy and meet people and learn something different,” he says.
For his part, Garcia says he doesn’t completely agree with the idea that Salmon Arm has a lack of things for people to do with their free time – though he admits there is not much aimed at young people.
“Someone told me the other day that people in Salmon Arm are spoiled in a way because we have good food from different cultures so close by. And not just that, there is something all the time like social events or dancing, music and theatre organized by local people and affordable,” he says. “Everybody else, anywhere else, pays big money to go do these things. You have to get out there and see what is going on, otherwise you’ll never know what is really out there.”