The sounds and sights of Christmas coloured the parking lot of Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre Sunday morning as the Sidney Outdoor Christmas Market held its inaugural edition.
Gillian and Darren Orr, along with their daughter Maxine, were among the early visitors of the market, which opened at 10 a.m. and ran until 4 p.m.
Their early reviews were positive. “It’s awesome,” said Gillian. “The variety is really good.” Darren agreed. “We love this,” he said. “It’s good to get outside and see and interact with all the local businesses. It’s spectacular.” For the Orrs, who own Iron and Wood Golf Simulators, their visit was also an act of supporting small businesses. “It is just a great hub for business, people and community,” said Darren.
Jennifer and Bernard Emms were also among early visitors. “I think the turnout is great,” said Bernard. “Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.”
Market organizer Laurie McDermid of West Coast Impressions said the outdoor market responds to the absence of indoor markets. “Our vendors were asking for an outdoor event — we thought, ‘okay, let’s give it a try,’” she said.
Darren Westwood, who helps to organize the market, said about two-thirds of the 65 vendors participating in the Christmas Market were also vendors in the Sidney Street Market that operated in the parking lot of the Mary Winspear Centre from early May to mid-October.
Sisters Lea Owens and Christine Penwarn of Neck It Knits were among those vendors who were also part of the earlier street markets, returning to the Christmas market with a selection of toques.
“We find that our apparel sells well at this time of the year,” said Penwarn. “So this is the perfect time of year for us as people are shopping for Christmas presents,” she said.
Westwood said Victoria does not have a tradition of outdoor Christmas markets and if the market is a success, it could return next year, either as a stand-alone event or as part of a series.
“People seem to like being outside right now, especially in these times,” he said.
“People were waiting before we were ready,” added McDermid. “So they were in the mood.”
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