Melburnians look to many milestones to convey that summer is on its way. When the footy season finishes, we know winter is essentially over. Spring Racing Carnival indicates spring is here.

For some, it’s only when the Suzuki Night Market kicks into gear that they know summer is truly here. A midweek summer tradition for many Melburnians, this vibrant, free, weekly event sees locals and visitors alike flocking to Queen Victoria Market every Wednesday evening for a lively celebration, offering everything from world food and wine bars to eclectic wares and live music.

The renowned hawker-style street food spans a culinary spectrum ranging from traditional African, Middle Eastern and Latin specialties to flavours from the far corners of Europe and everyone’s favourite current food trend, some serious American-style dude food.

Marking 15 years in 2012, the family-friendly night market’s carnival-like atmosphere now boasts more than 200 stalls showcasing local designers, artists, gourmet produce and fashion. Vintage threads, trinkets and treasures abound, while the eclectic array of entertainment includes everything from world music and busker-style local folk to some heavy hitters on the main stage.

This year’s festivities kick off tonight when Abbie Cardwell and the Chicano Rockers bring their Latino rock'n'roll, inspired by vintage Mexican music of the 50s and 60s. Other highlights of the summer music program include rising Aussie hip-hop act Flybz, chilled out island-style soul reggae from Bobby Alu, and Australia’s hardest hitting Hammond organ trio, Cookin’ on Three Burners, getting down and dirty with their deep funk, organ jazz and boogaloo sounds, including soaring vocals from soul sister Kylie Auldist.

And let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard not to be happy when you take a good dose of dancing music, an assortment of eclectic stalls, a warm summer breeze and the chance to eat your way around the world every week.

The Queen Victoria Night Market runs every Wednesday night from November 14, 2012 to February 27, 2013, 5pm–10pm.