To market, to market…

At this time of year we do our best to leave our comfort zone of Nundle and take Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores to market.
As chain stores bombard us all with colour glossy brochures on a weekly basis, we are no longer surprised as customers flock to the air-conditioned comfort of malls and superstores.
So as the people flow to Nundle slows pre-Christmas, we look for opportunities to take our micro store to the people. Interestingly Nundle is a post-Christmas destination as people look for a day trip with visiting family and friends from Boxing Day through to Australia Day.
Hopefully we will pop up at a market near you as we did at the Back to Murrurundi Weekend and Armidale Market in the Mall last month.
This Saturday, November 19th Odgers and McClelland will have a stall at the Brain Foundation Christmas Fair at Tamworth Racecourse.
Taking part in the markets gives me pause to think about what makes a great market. I have been a fan of markets since I was a girl. The excitement of buying a marbled helium balloon from Paddy’s Market at Flemington, independent teenage shopping excursions to buy cheap band t-shirts at Paddy’s Market, Haymarket, and my introduction to the boho vibe of Oxford Street’s Paddington Market come to mind. I still wear a beautiful blue and pink paisley cotton scarf that I bought at Paddington Market when I was 15. The black leather and suede pointy ankle boots haven’t seen the light of day for a while, but I still have them.
As an adult I can be happy with a market as small as the weekly Saturday Newtown Market, as long as there’s a funky pre-loved frock or top to take home. More and more the success of a market hangs on whether there’s something for the children to do. The annual Taste of Haven Market at Laurieton in May impressed our two and five years old boys with its drum tent, bungee, enormous pile of sand and toys, stilt walkers, and chocolate fountain, while their grandparents and mother feasted on Armstrong oysters, prawns and espresso coffee. The monthly Bellingen Market is another favourite for its samosas, wonderful clothes stalls, horse rides, merry-go-round and live music.
The Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival Committee is planning its 2012 event and we are attending markets with observant eyes to bring some of the winning elements to our town. The Nundle Go For Gold Chinese Easter Festival attracts more than 100 market stall holders and the committee is focussed on boosting the quality of the festival experience before building on its numbers of 16,000 people over two days. Our wish list so far is:
1. More live music
2. More food stalls
3. More fun for children (face painting, rides, magic show, and story telling. We are working on craft and bubbles)
4. New street performers; and
5. Expanding our visiting Chinese Lion and Dragon act.
The Brain Foundation Christmas Fair committee works hard to present a fun family oriented market. We take along our Tumut brooms, Robert Gordon Australia cermicware, German brushware, Middlebrook Honey, Junee Licorice, Romanian enamelware, Burgon and Ball gardening tools and Haws Watering Cans. Our boys will make a bee-line for the mini-motorbikes, balloon twisting, fairy floss, and snow cones. I will seek out shade to flop under a tree and listen to local musicians, shop for Christmas presents among fellow stall holders (Nundle Country Trader always takes away a stash of my cash), and keep Duncan plied with coffee and give him a break every now and then.
Most of all I will be taking in the vibrant market bazaar atmosphere of possibility. Random folk coming together to buy and sell, chat, and laugh

Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores, Nundle will take its market stall to the 2011 Brain Foundation Christmas Fair on this Saturday, November 19.

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2 thoughts on “To market, to market…

  1. Hello Megan, love your blog!

    I reckon the most successful thing about a market is not always to do with what’s in it, though that might be an outcome, but rather the infrastructure that supports it – such that it can operate in some permanency. In the UK, there’s a very old law that dictates that certain streets have over them a ‘right to market.’ During certain times – 8am-2pm usually i think, or 2-6pm, on certain days of the week, some streets will always be closed and anyone wanting to, will always be able to pay a modest fee and set up a stall. The local borough provides (very basic and ancient) kit – stall table and frame for hanging things, plus a couple of blokes to wheel table and frame in and out of where ever it’s housed when the market is not on. The one out the front of my place on Petticoat lane used to be a pretty normal high street 4 days a week when it wasn’t a market selling mainly clothes, office worker clothes that had the labels pulled off and sold cheap by the manufacturers on the side….the markets are very specific there.

    The regularity and guarantee of the Right to Market system means people can both rely on it for regular income as stall holders, they can plan their lives around it – but it also becomes a much more fundamental part of one’s weekly shopping – it also then becomes a really important micro-economic moment in a city’s economy, and markets develop into interesting clusters. Around the corner from me there was the flower market, there is also a household cleaning products market (I never heard any one speak about it with the same nostalgia they use on Columbia Road Flower Market) So, i think my point is, for a market to be something more then a fair, it has to have regularity and certainty – if it has that, a market can be a really serious contributor to the economy and a genuine system of exchange – rather then just being a special event.
    But then what’s interesting about the bush and what you’re describing is a network at scale through time – perhaps to make what I described above happen, it just takes a regional map, a calendar and an intelligent blog!

    Love to yours!

    Tarsha

    • Hello Tarsha
      Thank you for your thoughts. You paint a beautiful picture of the Petticoat Lane and Columbia Road Flower Market. What an experience to have lived in that neighbourhood.
      I agree the regularity and support given to stallholders does make a difference to the coming together of buyers and sellers.
      Our friends the lovely Treva and Shawn Stone are experts, organising a summer market at Shediac, New Brunswick, Canada and returning to Australia as vendors at markets along the coast and inland.
      I love chatting to them about what makes their market and others sing.
      Love Megan

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