The crowds may have been down slightly but the spirit and selection at the first Rimbey Farmers Market Christmas was sky-high with dozens of tables and hundreds of items up for sale.
“It went over very well. We had a lot of new vendors and new faces and things went good,” said manager Gayle Rondeel of the Nov. 14 market held at the Rimbey Community Centre. “The selection was excellent with plenty of hand-crafted items, a good selection of baking and breads, toys, crafts and we even had a couple of community tables for fundraising.”
While she admitted the decline in numbers over the previous two seasonal sales, Rondeel said there were a few factors well beyond her or anyone else’s control.
“Lots of times that can be attributed to being such nice weather and being in a small town where people tend to take off to larger communities on a Saturday when the weather is nice. It’s really hard to sell the Christmas theme when there’s no snow on the ground, so that makes a difference,” she said, adding that the economic downturn and fear of the flu haven’t helped either.
“The economic are still a major issue, but even with that people will still come out and have a look,” Rondeel said. “There’s also the flu hysteria to consider. There were a few hysterical types and we had one vendor cancel because he both had the flu, and didn’t want it to get any worse.”
Based on her experience with other Christmas markets, Rondeel is confident the numbers will be back up for the second market, to be held on Dec. 5 at the same location, as the holidays will be much closer, the weather is expected to be more seasonal and many people will be wrapping up their final shopping with a few more items.
“The next market will be a little bit bigger. Most of the vendors will be back but there’ll be a few new ones as well,” she said. “If there’s anything the public would like to see added, or if there are any local vendors that were missing, I’d really appreciate if they could give us a call because it’s all about promoting local goods.”
And while she would like to see more vendors in attendance, it’s only to a certain degree.
“The way I see it is that all the vendors need to do well rather than seeing how many people can pack into the hall,” Rondeel said. “It’s more important that the vendors in attendance have a good day sales-wise.”