Special events drove success of Blyth Community Market
BY DENNY SCOTT
The 2021 Blyth Community Market was a success, according to organizer Reece Sparling, thanks to it featuring significantly more than just goods for purchase.
Sparling, who spoke to The Citizen from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he is studying Business and Economics, said the market offered weekly special events as a means of entertaining everyone who wanted to attend.
“We had some highlights with the activities, and they added a lot,” he said, specifically referencing musical activities. “The live performances, like [musician] Ava Dawe and [dancer] Anne Elliott, generated interest.”
He said that activities hosted by Wild Goose Studio and the Fashion Arts and Creative Textiles studio also attracted a lot of involvement, especially from younger market-goers. Local churches also helped, he said, with regular activities for youth, as did the Maitland Valley Conservation Authority.
The COVID-19 pandemic did provide some challenges, he said, specifically with the set-up and operation of the market.
“That did pose some complications, but we were able to get the approvals and all the requirements met before the market opened up,” he said.
“This year, the support from the community has been outstanding,” Sparling said. “The number of people who showed up, and the vendors who showed up, rain or shine, were great. The main street businesses were also very helpful, especially in letting the market operate in front of their businesses.”
As for next year, Sparling said the market’s vendors are looking forward to the potential synergy that will come from having the Blyth Festival hopefully producing matinee shows at Blyth Memorial Hall, which will increase the amount of foot traffic in the downtown core.
Sparling’s future with the organization, however, remains up in the air as he continues to pursue his education. He said that Joan Brady will keep the online market operational through the Open Food Network.
“I’m not sure whether I’ll be looking at an internship or coming back,” Sparling said of running the physical market next year.
For more information on the physical market or how to order and pick-up items online, visit the Blyth Community Market on Facebook.