If there was ever an event that embodied the phrase, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again", it's the Handmade Market.
This month will be the third time the markets have tried to make a post-Covid comeback. Originally planned for June and then again in July, the Handmade Market will return to Exhibition Park this weekend. But as most things are in Covid times, it will be slightly different to past events.
"Handmade Markets has been synonymous with big events and hundreds of stallholders. Of course, that's not very cool at the moment," Handmade Market managing director Julie Nichols said.
"We've tried doing other events, and we couldn't get them across the line Covid safe, which we understand. So what we've decided to do is make our in-person events by local, for locals.
"There will be food and drinks, and everything you've come to expect, but everything that will be there will be from local and regional designers and foodies, in one pavilion rather than two."
It's the second time the markets have pivoted because of the pandemic. The first was in March last year when it held its first virtual markets to help support the 600-odd small businesses that come under the Handmade Market banner.
This virtual market is still running - and, as of last month, is new and improved with the addition of the Handmade Market e-commerce site - allowing those same small businesses, who may not be able to attend the in-person event, to connect with shoppers.
"We feel obligated to support these guys. If we don't do something, then that is something else they lose. So the struggles have been real and the pressure has been real," Ms Nichols said.
Since launching 13 years ago, the Handmade Market has become a feature of the Canberra social calendar, with fans across the capital. Even looking ahead to this weekend's event, free tickets to certain sessions on Eventbrite have already booked out.
But Ms Nichols puts this down to the fact that Canberrans have always appreciated buying products from the producers.
"We've never been an event where we dress up the venue and have live DJs or any of those extra things. It's always about the product and the maker," she said.
"The stallholders are always saying to me, Canberra people know how to shop, they know what they're looking for and they appreciate a handmade product. Canberra customers are just next level."
- Handmade Market is at Exhibition Park on Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 4pm. Register at Eventbrite.
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