Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough

Market in your calendar . . . once again


If you haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet, don’t worry because, after its cancellati­on last year, the first in 43 years, the Mistletoe Market is making a comeback.

And, like before, the market – organised by the Blenheim Lions Club – will see food, gifts, clothes, jewellery and other arts and crafts spread across the town centre on the first Saturday of December.

It will be an early start on the day, December 3, for market convener Delphine Lee and 12 other club volunteers, who will be in town from 6am.

‘‘We measure the stalls, pencil the numbers so they [stallholde­rs] know exactly where they are. Then we have some [volunteers] to stay on for a couple of hours just to supervise all the stalls, make sure there is no hassle,’’ Lee said.

A group of the Blenheim Lions Club volunteers would also help with the Blenheim Christmas Parade, which is on after the market.

‘‘We police the streets,’’ Lee said. ‘‘We do stand there in our hivis to make sure the kids don’t run into the street.

‘‘Then afterwards we’ve got the 12 wheelie bins around the town, we make sure all the streets are clean and tidy. We take the wheelie bins back to the skip.

‘‘And, on occasion, the horse that’s in the [Christmas] Parade . . . One of them did poop right on the street . . . and we have to take care of that too. It’s a big day.’’

Lee took over as market convener from long-serving and valued club member Charles Riley.

‘‘It has been a learning curve. Charles used to be the one organising everything for more than 30 years but for the last two or three years he has been wanting to step back,’’ Lee said.

‘‘We get incredible help from everyone. Men at Work, they do things for us at a very reasonable cost. Crafar Crouch come and put a big skip in the car park in Wynen St, and we have 12 wheelie bins all around, and again they give us a really good price and of course council wave any dump fees.’’

Lee said, at last count, the market had 165 sites, with many more on the waiting list, and was visited – ‘‘at a wild guess’’ – by about 3000 people each year.

But Lee was expecting road closures after a winter of extreme weather to affect the number of visitors this year.

‘‘It would have to impact a degree ... but everyone is so pleased that [although] Covid is not over, we do have the freedom to get on with things, and it will just be lovely to.’’

Lee said they had never had a wet market day in 44 years, except the last one, a couple of years ago.

‘‘It actually rained for the . . . [Christmas] parade, and it poured. It was only for the parade; we were fine until the end, but I’m quite sure Santa was sitting in a puddle in his chair.

‘‘All those years, we have never had, touch wood, adverse weather. That was the only time.’’

The Blenheim Lions Club Mistletoe Market will take place on Saturday, December 3, from 9am to 2pm, followed by the Blenheim Christmas Parade.

 ?? RICKY WILSON/STUFF ?? The Mistletoe Market, often with more than 160 stalls, has become a highlight of the Marlboroug­h Christmas calendar.
RICKY WILSON/STUFF The Mistletoe Market, often with more than 160 stalls, has become a highlight of the Marlboroug­h Christmas calendar.

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