I recently visited The Riccarton Market in Christchurch, New Zealand. This would be one of the biggest of it's kind still running in the South Island of New Zealand. I'm not sure how long it has been going but it's been held in the grounds of Riccarton Park Racecourse for many years now and ably organized by Riccarton Rotary.
It was a fine day, a bit overcast but warm. I arrived at around 9.30am, half an hour after the market's official opening time. There was a good number of visitors making their way through the many isles of stalls. All the traders were set up hoping for a big day.
I spoke with a trader who has been there for many years. He told me that people haven't been buying as much since the earthquakes hit Canterbury almost 5 years ago. His reasoning was that during the rebuilds and repair work, home owners were boxing up bookcases full of items that they hadn't read or used for many years and were therefore thinking twice about purchasing more of these show items.
He also spoke of the ageing population who were keen collectors of stamps, old cameras, old coins, old vehicles and memorabilia. He reckoned the younger population were not interested in these items as their focus was more on new apps for their phones or high tech items.
It seemed to me that some traders were doing pretty good, but others struggled due to the vast amount of competition present or the quality of their goods.
The food trucks, of which there were many to choose from, all seemed to be pretty busy, especially later in the morning.
I have always enjoyed visiting the local school fairs or community markets, always hopeful of finding something which caught my eye, something different. This Sunday I came away with a couple of books and a couple of small pieces of art, one on tin, the other fabric. Long may these markets continue.
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