Received this question from Nicole this week:

“Hi, I am a frequent visitor to your beautiful markets, and when I was there today I noticed less stalls than the last time I visited. I just wondered if this is usually the case or was it just because of the event at Hope Estate this weekend? Thank you

And just in case others have wondered about the differing sizes of our markets, I thought you also might like to know the answer.

Our “normal” market days are the second and fourth Saturdays of the month and these markets are busting at the seams with stallholders.  I actually have more stallholders than I have spaces for and many times have to set stalls up in the middle of the sites (we have 2 that we use) or extend down the carpark.

We also run “extra” markets on first, third or fifth Saturdays and some Sundays throughout the year, when there are events, concerts, long weekends or school holidays.  Stallholders opt in for the extra markets they want to do. However, some are already committed to other markets and their yearly market schedule doesn’t allow them the option of attending Handmade in the Hunter Markets.  Consequently, these markets can be smaller.

Another factor that people are not aware of is that seasons also determine whether a market is large or small.  The peak time is always the months before Christmas when our fans are shopping for gifts. I then feel like the old woman in lived in a shoe, with so many children, she didn’t know what to do.  Stallholders crawl out of the woodwork then and there is a battle to find space for everyone.  And on the other end, winter is traditionally a slow time of year sales-wise.  Stallholders sometimes choose to not attend markets and spend the time at home making things for Christmas.  Winter is also flu-season.  I had one market last winter where both  sites were fully booked but by the time the weekend rolled around.  I only had enough able-bodied stallholders to fill one side of the market.

School holidays also impact on stallholder attendance.  Stallholders with school-age children, will often take time off during school holidays to go away with their kids which means that they are not able to be present at the market.

Despite some markets being smaller, you can be assured that any stallholder in those “smaller” looking markets is still 100% handmade and a resident of the Hunter Valley.  So you can be a supporter not only of “handmade” and “Made in Australia” but also “handmade in the Hunter Valley” which means that you are then supporting our local, and awesome creative makers. And we love you for that!