New market format a sucess

GREAT SUCCESS: Cherie Caldow and Andy Latta from Flotsam and Jetsam Art enjoy the last market for the year.

Charlotte Varcoe

THE seasons end has come for the Summer Thugi Markets, which has reported a great success for their first year.

The inaugural market event was held on the second Sunday of each month from November until February with last week’s event being its last for the season.

Thugi is the Boandik name for the Cave Gardens and was officially recognised by the state parliament as a dual name earlier last year.

Hosted by the not-for-profit Limestone Coast Festivals and Events committee, there were between 60 to 70 vendors at each event attracting large crowds.

The committee took over the markets from the Lakes Rotary Club after its decision to cease the activity due to a lack of volunteers.

Committee treasurer Tammy Flier said the markets were a great success with a range of different traders.

“We have had people come from Victoria and South Australia and we have had a lot of really good feedback,” Ms Flier siad.

“The weather has not always been as kind as it could be but from the feedback that we have had from the traders it was a really good success.”

She said the line up of the events successfully coincided with City of Mount Gambier’s Summer on Watson program which had the Watson Terrace cul-de-sac blocked off from traffic.

“This provided even more of an opportunity for some extra stall holders,” Ms Flier siad.

“December was set to be one of our biggest ones but then that got a little washed out so we did not have as many as we normally would but it was still a really good turnout.”

She said it was also a “good location for tourists” and for traders to attract people to come in, spending their money and supporting them all.

“It has not changed much to the Rotary markets, Rotary club set up an amazing market and we have just worked with all the information they gave us and maps, planning and we worked on and just built on it with our volunteer bases,” Ms Flier said.

“We have a lot of younger volunteers so we have been able to build on social media and we did a lot of posters and put them up throughout the South East and into Western Victoria in October and November last year to provide even more coverage and let more people know the events were coming up.”

Ms Flier said although the re-branded markets initially received backlash due to its name, it did not prevent people from supporting the event.

“I know we had a bit of backlash at the start when we announced we were going to call it the Thugi markets but it is held in the Thugi area,” she said.

“We also needed to differentiate that it was no longer the Rotary market because we did not want the Rotary club to still get hounded for information.”

Despite the feedback, Ms Flier said everyone enjoyed the different stalls which were hosted and also encouraged entertainment as well.

“The next big thing for our committee is to host other festivals and events with the next festival being the Medieval Fantasy Fair which is in April at the showgrounds,” she said.

“We have traders and entertainers coming from all over Australia and a heap of entertainers and traders coming from New South Wales this year which is great.”

Until then, Ms Flier said she would like to thank the community for supporting the markets and small businesses which attended.

“It is a process for traders to get enough stuff to be out at the market so it is great when the community can get behind it and go and support the local traders and then the money also stays local with local traders and you are also supporting a local family,” she said.