June 3, 2016
Sometimes city folk (ie Vancouverites in BC) have this very romantic notion about outdoor markets especially in rural areas.
It is true that markets are a great place for the vendors to do trades with each other and sometimes with members of the general public. It is also the opportunity to chat. Find out about products in a quite thorough manner. Listen to some great music by local musicians and to have some time out from our hectic, stressful work and lifestyles.
The politics, however, are astronomical at markets. Often the market motto in Canada is that anyone who “makes, bakes or grows” his or her products can be a vendor.
Sometimes this has meant that psychics and healers are left out because it is deemed that we do not “make”, for example, a tea leaf reading or a massage. It could definitely be argued, though, that we do “produce” these things. I believe that market organizers and sponsors who exclude the likes of people like me are doing it on the basis that they do not believe in psychic readings or see them as trivial as they believe healings are.
Other people that are often excluded are those who sell second hand items even though environmentally this is a positive contribution to saving the planet.
These arguments and plain old competitiveness often motivates some people to start new markets in the same community.
Now it just might be me but I think most market vendors do not make and often loose money at the markets. Multiplying the number of markets in a village or town does nothing to increase the intake of money at the markets.
The following is a story about two markets developing on Pender Islands:
Gulf Islands Driftwood: Penders Edition
Wedsnesday, May 24, 2000
Two outdoor markets attract browsers on holiday weekend
by Tanya Lester
The Pender Islands boasted two outdoor markets during the Victoria Day weekend and organizers of both say they intend to stick around until Thanksgiving.
Murray Stewart of the Driftwood Centre market is confident the island can support two Saturday markets, while Ellen Willingham, associated with the community hall farmers’ market, has a “wait and see” attitude.
The Driftwood Centre market opened for the first time this year on the long weekend with the Pender Highlanders Pipe Band, a Celtic fiddler and a classic car show.
Stewart said a number of vendors from previous years were not in favour of setting up at the new community hall location where the Pender Island Farmers’ Institute has been sponsoring a farmers’ market since earlier this spring.
These vendors are mostly craftspeople who Stewart said will be selling wood crafts, knitted wear, jewellery, sculptures and baked goods.
On long weekends, the Driftwood Centre market will include a Lions Club food concession. Proceeds will help purchase emergency equipment at the medical clinic.
Stewart claimed the Driftwood Centre is the best location for a market because it is at the hub of activiity and adds to the one-stop shopping approach for customers who can do other business, including banking, at the same location.
Stewart said boating visitors walk up from Port Browning Marina Resort and enjoy the rural atmosphere of Earl Hastings’ cows located right across the road.
The market will be open for 21 Saturdays from 9:30 am to 1pm. A table can be rented for the whole season for $15, of which $5 dollars is a membership fee… Fifteen tables were rented last weekend.
Stewart said they had a marvelous time with lots of people coming out for the first Saturday of the season.
The community hall farmers’ market also had mobs of people last weekend, said Willingham, the Farmers’ Institute president.
Sheila the Wonder Dog, a talented sheep dog, amused the crowds. Arting Around, a showing of island artists’ worl, also drew numbers and sales.
Willingham admitted that some of the crafts people “broke ranks” from the community hall market to join those at the Driftwood Centre, but she said some new vendors had also replaced them.
She said the hall location is popular as it attracts people “straight off the Vancouver ferry” and has a rural ambiance as opposed to a mall atmosphere.
In addition, these was a shuttle running back and forth from Port Browning Marina Resort for visiting boaters.
She remembers the Driftwood Centre as being a crowded space for vendors in the past.
She feels the hall vendors have more self-determination to do things like create a fenced-in area for a baby animal petting zoo.
“Personally, it would be better if we were all together,” said Willingham. pointing out that building community is linked to cooperation.
She said two votes were taken on the issue, with both coming out in favour of the hall venue.
A table at the community hall market is $4 a week.
One table is set aside for community groups and is free of charge.
There were 25 vendors last weekend. Coffee, tea and goodies are always served inside the hall…
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