The Winter Market is back, and bigger and better this year.
Running for four years now, the Winter Market is the place to be on a Sunday. With its increasing popularity, organizers Brenda Shannon and Linda Duford have been on the lookout for a larger space to host the weekly event.
In past years, it has worked its way up from a room in the Hay River Metis Government Council’s building, to the foyer at Ecole Boreale, then to the Assisted Living Facility.
This year, the market will be the largest yet, and located at the Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre.
“Assisted Living was lovely, a bright space with lovely people but we were packed in like sardines,” said Duford. “We were turning away vendors because we just couldn’t fit them all. So we tried to find a space this year that could fit all the things we wanted to do.”
The Winter Market does not make a profit, since the table rental fee goes to whichever venue is generous enough to play host. With a bigger venue, there will be more tables, and therefore more money coming in to support the event and contribute to the venue.
“With our big space, we can just let people come in and set up, and maybe we’ll have two or three of the same kind of thing, but that’s OK because we can fit them all,” said Duford.
She expects to have vendors selling homemade wares, such as crafts, canned and baked goods, as well as vendors displaying home-business products. The market boasts live entertainment, and this year the venue is big enough to hold a stage.
Also this year, Duford’s fiddling club will be held during the market.
“But the main attraction is Franziska’s Real Food Cafe,” said Duford.
Franziska Ulbricht makes up a new menu each Sunday and uses local, fresh and organic foods to create well-balanced lunches.
“So people who are looking for brunch on a Sunday will have some other options, too,” said Duford.
The Winter Market is an offshoot of the Hay River Commons, a group that in the past has promoted community kitchens.
Duford said the idea for the market was inspired by the successful Fisherman’s Wharf outdoor market in the summer.
“The wharf is phenomenally popular, so it would be nice to carry it on through the winter,” Duford said. “We came up with Sunday, because there’s so much to do on Saturdays anyway and we do not want to be seen as competition for the stores that are open.”
Brenda Shannon also sits on the board for t
he Winter Market. She said it will stay mostly the same this year but just a bit bigger.
“If there’s something the community wants to see here, we are open to suggestions but it seems to be going really well,” she said.
Shannon said the group took the market across the river to the Chief Lamalice Complex a few times last year and they expect to do the same this year.
The Winter Market began on Nov. 22, and will run every Sunday until Christmas. Then the vendors will take a break to restock, and will resume at the end of January.
Sunday’s market runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anybody interested in renting a table can just show up an hour early to set up.
“I’m hoping this becomes something Hay River is known for, like the wharf,” said Duford. “That’s our goal. That’s what we aspire to be.”