By Ida Koric
Rossland’s final mountain market runs today after a highly successful season.
When Rossland Real Food envisioned an open-air market six years ago, the motivation was to encourage the support of local farmers and artisans, as well as to educate the public about the importance of local food systems and sustainable practices.
This year’s return to a central location on Columbia is credited as a major reason for the market’s continued success. The increased foot traffic in the downtown core was a tremendous help in increased participation, but Miche Warwick and Caley Mulholland joined forces to bring about changes that served to draw more locals into the action.
A green space adjacent to the market was cleared and furnished with patio chairs, encouraging children to play while parents shopped, and enticing shoppers to linger. The Rossland Library came on board with their summer reading program, providing children’s entertainment each week. Live music was also a staple that added to the festive atmosphere of the market.
The highlight of the season, however, was the first annual Harvest Festival—a celebration of the autumn season—which drew a record number of vendors (44) from farther afield.
Mulholland did not hesitate to credit the “staple” vendors with the market’s success year in and year out, however.
“It’s our core vendors that are key. They come rain or shine, driving from Creston or Fruitvale, and it’s their commitment that keeps us going,” she said.
At every market shoppers can expect to see everything from seasonal fruits and vegetables, to jewelry, from hand-woven yarn, to beeswax candles, and artisan cupcakes to children selling lemonade.
Hopes for next year include more farmers and artists to set up shop, a continued improvement on the seating area, and improved funding to help pay local musicians a reasonable rate for sharing their talents. A sound system is also in the works to provide soothing grooves, live or otherwise, for each market day.
Market organizers continue to encourage Rosslanders to stop by for some local shopping.
“It is important for the local economy,” Mulholland stressed “We have entrepreneurs finding creative ways to make a living, and it is important for us to support that. It also gives people a chance to get to know local artisans; come Christmas time you can special order hand-made gifts for loved ones, and know who is doing the baking, or crafting.”
Anyone interested in vending, or volunteering to help with market organization, is asked to email email@example.com. The only parameters to vending are “make it, bake it, grow it” so if you have a skill or talent to share with the community, this is your chance.