This past weekend the people behind the Elmira Farmers’ Market started something new: they ran the first Craft Fall Fair at the market.
Upwards of 30 vendors came out to the market to sell their wares, said Amy Elliott, who sits on a committee to organize the event.
Each vendor brought a table and a canopy of their own, and secured their spot for $20. The types of work they sold included wood working, graphic design, resin creations, dog and pet products, jewelry, quilts and sewing, greeting cards and the like.
Elliott says the goal is for the event to happen every year.
“The farmers’ market has been in place for many, many years and we just think that the community needs to be reminded of the great opportunities they have to purchase great products locally,” she explained.
Elliott has been a craft vendor at the market for the past year, selling handmade greeting cards. Making the cards is a hobby that she turned into a business over the course of the pandemic. She says a few of the craft vendors wanted to put a craft fair together, and they knew others who might be interested. The point would be to help local crafters become more familiar with and experience the market, and for the community to see all the neat items available.
Courtney Allen is another vendor at the market. Through her craft business, Ollie and Friends, Allen makes dog bandanas and accessories.
“We use fabrics and items from local businesses and try to remain as eco-friendly as possible,” she said.
Allan Martin, the market administrator, and his wife used to have a table selling baked and canned goods until 2017. Now he continues just with the administration. It’s a project of passion for him.
The market began 20 years ago. He says its first location was in the parking lot where the credit union is now. Then, because they didn’t have insurance, they were asked to move. After that, they met in the Home Hardware parking lot for many years until 2021. Now, the market meets at 6 Arthur St. N., near the corner of William Street.
Over all the years the market community has persisted, Martin says the pandemic has been especially hard on the vendors.
“I already said last year to the vendors that were leaving us, ‘I don’t think it’s the time to give up.’ COVID was hard, not only on us the vendors at the farmers’ market, [it] was a nasty influence to everybody on the face of the Earth. It was something that we all had to deal with whether we liked it or not. We have to deal with it. But I think, more and more people are coming out of the woods and are willing to move forward with life. And that’s my prayer as the manager, that we can create an atmosphere at the farmers’ market that makes people feel welcome, feel secure and safe.”
He also pointed out that dogs are welcome at the market, which he says is not common for most farmers’ markets.
Vendors sell locally grown produce, baked goods, preserves, crafts, cotton candy, and a local food truck has started coming this year.
Martin said the craft fair was so successful, some of the new craft vendors decided to continue for the rest of the season. They’ll be at the market, along with all the vendors the market has to offer, this Saturday starting at 8 a.m.
“So we’re really excited at this point. From this point forward, we’re going to focus on trying to get our vendor count up, because the more people you have, for people to go around and look at their stuff, it makes it more interesting for the shopper, the more choices that they have.
“For me, the market was more than just a farmers’ market. It has turned into a passion for me to see this thing succeed, and do what it takes to make it succeed. And that’s still kind of where my heart is,” he said.
“We never want to be the St. Jacobs market, never, ever, but gaining a little momentum, having a few more vendors to make it more worthwhile, would definitely be our dream. But we’re never going to lose sight of that ‘we make it, we bake it, we grow it’ slogan.”