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Candidates Night brings red, white, blue to Sunset Market

OCEANSIDE — A corner of the Sunset Market will be strewn with campaign banners and signs on Candidates Night Oct. 18. 

Candidates Night at the Sunset Market has been a tradition linked to November and June elections ever since the Thursday night street market opened five years ago.

The night invites local candidates to attend and provides them with free booth space along side the 108 regular food, goods and services vendors at the market.

“We set up booths, tables, chairs, lights for candidates in an area down at the end of Tremont and Mission,” Rick Wright, executive director of MainStreet Oceanside, said. “It’s quite a little tradition.”

This election 20 local candidates have RSVP’d to the invitation to talk to voters.

U.S. Congress candidate Jerry Tetalman, State Assembly 76th District candidates Rocky Chavez and Sherry Hodges, and Oceanside mayor candidates Jim Wood, Jerry Kern and Terry Johnson will have campaign booths at the market.

Also in attendance will be all six candidates running for Oceanside City Council, and the six running for city clerk. Two Oceanside Unified School District candidates will also be present.

The night allows residents to have one-on-one discussions with candidates.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to have face-to-face communication with candidates,” Wright said. “Looking someone in the eye and asking them a question instead of sitting in the audience.”

The night also benefits candidates by giving them a night to share their campaign message. Market goers can expect to be handed campaign flyers and candidate bumper stickers.

“You meet a lot of people at a relaxed pace,” Kern said. “You can spend time talking to people at length. Walking precincts you get a minute and need to get on to the next one.”

“You can contact some people who might not have made their mind up,” Wood said.

In past years booths for the pros and cons on local propositions have also been included.

Wright said the intention of the evening market is to be a gathering place for the community.

“The market is very community-oriented,” Wright said. “Candidates Night is one way to be able to do that.”

This year’s event was originally scheduled for Oct. 11 and then moved to Oct. 18 after it was rained out.

The Sunset Market is on Tremont Street between Mission Avenue and Civic Center Drive and is open from 5 to 9 p.m.