We've primped and primed the building; vendors have been bringing in their shelves and signage. We've rolled out the carpets (okay, floor mats - but that's still exciting as Roto-Static of St. Thomas is sponsoring a large portion of that cost for the market this season!)
The supplies have been gathered and the volunteers scheduled - the pancake breakfast is sizzling. The invitation has been extended to several of our community representatives to help flip pancakes. Oegema's Turkey Shoppe is preparing the sausage; Plamers Maple Syrup have donated the syrup; Berry Hill Fruit Farm is bringing a strawberry compote for topping and the Bulk Barn generously donated the pancake mix. All of this pulled together by the volunteers of the promotions committee. Be sure to say Hi to those dedicated folks too. Thank you J.D. for all that you do.
Someone asked me this week where my lists were. I have taken so many phone calls, emails, visits, and meetings in the past week that the lists have gone out the window. We have many returning vendors, a few vendors have moved on to other cities or sold their business, and a few new faces you will be meeting over the next few Saturdays. In May, we average 24 vendors and building up to average of 40 during peek months of September and October.
Those vendor numbers do not include groups that come to the market who are not revenue generating groups. The Public Library staff, for example, enjoyed their time at the market so much last year, they are returning for two Saturdays each month this season. They bring books for loan and can scan on the spot so don't forget your library card.
We also have fundraising groups that only attend one or two times during the season but are a big draw for customers. The Seniors Center is bringing fresh baked pies this weekend - perfect for anyday, but particularly good for Mother's Day. Plants from Word & Deed are for sale this Saturday and May 22nd to raise money for orphanages in Malawi, Africa. Inside, you will find Mary Edgar selling handbeaded jewelry made by women co-operative groups in Uganda, Africa.
I have followed Mary's journey since I met her at the market last year. She is a volunteer with WENDWOA (West Nile Disadvantaged Women & Orphans Assoc.) who lives part time here in little ole' Sparta, Ontario and part-time in Uganda, Africa. My children and I off-loaded our craft bin at Mary's table last year and she took our beads and string, along with other collected supplies and headed to Africa in November. She works, lives, and counsels with these women and children, assisting in putting their lives back together. Not only are they learning how to build a solid business that can start feeding their families again, but they also are rebuilding homes, schools and communities. Kudos to you Mary! I am looking forward to adding a WENDWOA creation to our growing collection made with some of our donated supplies.
And, of course, like only Canadians can do, we have begun predicting the market-day weather forecast. I have been advised: cloudy, windy, rainy, nasty cold and chance of frost. Sounds like a perfect spring day to me to be starting the 2010 market season!
See you soon,