The anticipation is building as the Hall markets return on Sunday after a year of COVID-enforced shutdown.
The last time the markets were held was on March 8, 2020, unable to re-open as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
Up early on Sunday will be 78-year-old Tony Morris, regarded as the unofficial mayor of Hall.
Mr Morris has been a volunteer at the markets since they opened with just a handful of stalls and a 20-cent entry fee in 1987. His jobs over the years have been cleaning the toilets as well as setting up and directing the parking in the dusty paddocks of the Hall showground, as the markets have grown to have 300 stallholders on the books.
Mr Morris says everyone is excited to see the markets return to the little village on the northern outskirts of Canberra. "Everyone loves Hall and they love coming out here," he said.
The markets are a fundraiser for Hartley Lifecare, a Canberra-based, not-for-profit organisation that provides supported accommodation for people with disabilities.
Hartley Lifecare took a financial hit, but things are looking up, with the markets re-opening. It will also be one of the organisations to benefit from the Hands Up for Canberra Giving Day on Tuesday.
Hartley Hall market manager Mel Hugg said it had received permission to have 5000 people at the markets at any one time on Sunday. She said exceeding that number was unlikely, as the usual turnout for the markets was 6000 to 8000 across the entire day.
The decision to re-open the markets was made in consultation with ACT Health and Events ACT. Crowd numbers will be managed by visitors using the CBR Check-In app on arrival.
Ms Hugg said there would be 175 stall holders at Sunday's market.
"Everyone is just so excited," she said.
"People are even ringing up from Sydney saying, 'We're coming to Canberra for the weekend and we wanted to make sure you would be open'."
One of the stallholders glad to be at the Hall markets is Scott Evans, owner of Scott's Food Vans. He will be taking his baked potato van, which he has also had at the Enlighten Festival.
"We're relieved, really," he said, of the markets opening up. "It's a regular job that's coming back."
Mr Evans had to struggle for every dollar during the COVID shutdown, as festivals, markets and live events were cancelled. He opened a food van in Yass twice a week as a quasi-takeaway and regularly took his ice cream van out to Wee Jasper. He also worked his other job running the canteen at Queanbeyan High.
"I've never worked so hard for so little money," he said. "We're working to survive at the moment, not working to make money."
Mr Evans said being able to trade at Enlighten had been a step towards normality. "Enlighten has been good and surprisingly successful even with the restrictions and time limits. And I know the organisers are also happy with how it's gone," he said.
The Hartley Hall markets are Sunday at the showgrounds, Victoria Street, Hall, from 10am to 3pm. Entry is by gold coin donation.