Renovated Exhibition Hall hosts Made With Love Markets

Made With Love Markets founder Alison Paul welcomed stallholders and market-goers to the Exhibition Hall at the Showground.

THE Made With Love Markets became the first major event to be held in the freshly renovated Exhibition Hall at Coffs Harbour Showground, with local stallholders filling the venue with their home made and hand made goods on a sunny Sunday 3 March.

Alison, who launched the market in 2011, summed up the atmosphere as “fabulous”.

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“Local stallholders always amaze me with their talent,” she said.

“We had so many new stallholders come along this time, which means each market has a slightly new flavour to the last and there’s always something new and exciting to explore.

“It’s always such a fantastic vibe on market day.

“The customers are always so happy and relaxed, wandering around checking out the fantastic goodies and taking home treasures.”

Alison said the newly refurbished hall provided the perfect market setting.

“Love, love, love it,” she said.

“We have the best of both worlds, with around 90 stallholders inside the lovely refurbished new hall, and outside around 40 stallholders spread across the west and northern sides of the hall, and food stallholders.”

Deb Farquhar, who serves on the Coffs Harbour Showground’s board, told NOTA, “The board and management of the Coffs Harbour Showground were very excited to welcome the Made With Love Markets to the extended and refurbished Exhibition Hall.

“We look forward to a long and successful association.”

Prior to its upgrade, the hall had been unavailable for use for almost two years.

“After being closed since 16 May 2022, we are thrilled with the recommissioning of the Exhibition Hall as it is our largest undercover facility and an excellent asset for the community.

“A wedding with 400 guests on 16 March will be the first in the new extension and we look forward to many more similar activities.

“The new meeting room is another valuable attraction.”

Also new this year, Sunday’s Made With Love Markets had a focus on rubbish management.

Collaborating with Bellingen-based environmental education group OzGREEN, Alison welcomed its Rethink Waste program to the market to talk rubbish to both stallholders and shoppers.

“I loved having Rethink Waste at the event,” said Alison.

“As a market organiser, I am keen to explore all options for the market to have as little environmental impact as possible.

“It was great having the Rethink Waste volunteers there chatting to people and educating market-goers and stallholders on how to sort their waste correctly.

“I learnt that paper straws can be composted.”

Run by program manager Kathleen Hannah, Rethink Waste is a practical and simple fit with OzGREEN’s vision of changing habits to change the world.

OzGREEN’s role involves supporting event managers to rethink their waste management systems by role modelling effective waste streams and educating event patrons about recycling, composting and items destined for landfill.

“Event holders face big challenges with waste,” Kathleen told News Of The Area.

“It can be expensive to process and difficult to sort, with all waste often sent to landfill at the end of an event.”

Surprised and delighted by the response from the community, the Rethink team has now had thousands of engaging conversations around waste.

“The majority of people coming to the bins appreciate the guidance we offer on where to put different items.”

Kathleen said while most people want to do the right thing, they may not be equipped with the right information.

“There is a lot of mixed messaging out there and it’s not uncommon for us to answer questions around other tricky items like bottle tops, small electronics and UHT containers.

“44 percent of people attending the markets needed assistance choosing the correct bin,” said Kathleen.

Providing this type of education has successfully diverted hundreds of litres of waste from landfill.

“Empowered with new knowledge, the people attending these events are able to implement waste changes within their homes and workplaces creating a ripple effect of change, ultimately leading to less landfill generated and a greater awareness of finite resources.

“What’s not to love about that?” asked Kathleen.


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