Despite torrential rain plus a thunderstorm and the lure of Olympic tennis on TV, Marlborough’s second community market yesterday (Sunday) was its own medal-winning success.
Some stallholders almost sold out, one got lost en route to the High Street, but when it was over all the signs pointed positive to the market’s continued future on the first Sunday of every month.
“It’s been fabulous,” declared town councillor Richard Pitts, a member of Transition Marlborough, which made the breakthrough of launching an open-air farmer’s market with arts and crafts stalls backed by council funding.
“We have just been building on the success from last month and have gone from 19 stalls to 31. Today the market has been going non-stop since 10.30 with people coming to shop before the opening time of 11 o’clock.
“People have just been piling in, it’s really fantastic. The Olympics may have made a difference slightly with numbers but people seem to want to come out and shop on a Sunday. And so they have.”
Town Clerk Derek Wolfe, who bought himself some spicy cheese with peppers and garlic, agreed.
“The market is doing incredibly well, especially with the weather being not too helpful today,” he told Marlborough News Online. “It is something different and people are still coming out to explore and see what’s here.”
“We need to build on that for the future. And I’m pretty sure that we can. Certainly the number of market stallholders is pretty healthy and the number of people attending, though not as high as last time, has been extremely good.”
“So it augurs well for the market’s future.”
But it didn’t seem that way when market manager Ellie Gill arrived with a band of 15 volunteers to erect the row of white tents and faced torrential rain.
“It was potentially disastrous,” she said. “The weather was absolutely foul. It was just like a sheet of water descending.”
We had traders turning up at nine o’clock saying, It isn’t happening, is it?
“I said, What do you mean? Just sit in your car and shut up. It’s going to happen. Having a community market in the middle of the High Street is the way forward.”
“It’s the transition message, absolutely. Despite the weather — and despite the Olympics — we’ve done very well.”
Rowie Meard, from Purton House Organics, near Swindon, who was making her first visit to the community market, agreed.
“It hasn’t been a great day for us because if people want organic veg they probably need to know you are coming,” she admitted. “It started off quite busy this morning but then tailed off a bit when the rain came back.”
“But there is a lot of potential. People were very pleased to see me here and said they would come back. The atmosphere is great and Marlborough is just a brilliant town in which to have a farmers’ market. It’s ideal.”
And Katy Tatem from Katy’s Kitchen, Swindon, who had a stall full of exotic cupcakes, echoed that success.
“I’ve sold almost 200 cup cakes today and I’m really pleased with that,” she revealed. “It’s my first time here. There was a great turn out.”
“It’s a brilliant market despite the rain and this thunderstorm. I’m very pleased indeed.”