It’s hard to believe how close the Handmade Markets have come to returning to Canberra’s events scene over the last few years.
In the end, there have been many attempts, so it’s hoped this one will be fourth-time lucky.
And while it sure has been a long time coming, they are finally ready to make a full return to their pre-pandemic glory with over 2220 Australian designers and producers set to attend the markets to sell their wares on April 30 and 1 May.
Handmade managing director Julie Nichols said she was excited to get back to doing what she, and all of her team, loves to do.
“Our Australian makers have done it tough over the last two years, and we just know that both our makers and our customers are going to be so excited for the market to be returning,” Julie said.
According to long-time Handmade Market customer Carole, the excitement is definitely real.
“I have loved supporting makers through the Handmade Online Markets, but nothing beats being able to see and feel the handmade products with your own hands. There is just something so special about holding a handmade product while talking directly to the person who has made it,” she said.
The markets will be held at EPIC on Saturday, 30 April, and Sunday, 1 May, between 10 am and 4 pm on both days.
Julie is encouraging attendees to search for a perfect gift for Mother’s Day from the range of jewellery, clothing and homewares on offer, alongside candles and body products.
“There is so much to choose from that you can rest assured we have your gift-giving covered,” she said.
As well as gifts, there will be a food hall full of street food vans and producers with options such as jams and condiments, artisan biscuits, award-winning cheeses and handmade pasta. People can even do some wine tasting in the bar area with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on offer.
Entry to the market is free but a gold coin donation to local charity Givit is encouraged and COVID-safe protocols, including checking in on arrival with the Check In CBR app, is required.
“Please come and support our Australian makers this weekend. Show them some love and let them know that they have been missed. Supporting Australian-made is so important, so let’s give our makers that message,” Julie said.
The Handmade Markets were a staple of Canberra’s events calendar for 10 years before the pandemic pulled the plug on the March 2020 event just six days before the event was slated to go ahead.
Then, the first time they tried to return it was scuppered by Sydney’s Delta COVID-19 outbreak, and then a smaller, local event in August was cancelled due to the ACT lockdown.
Despite all the cancellations, earlier this year, Julie told Region Media the team had “remained positive throughout”.
Since January, her fingers and toes have been crossed that everything goes ahead – so here’s hoping nothing happens between now and the end of the month.
The same weekend will also see Casino Canberra play host to the Taste Festival – a celebration of wine, spirits, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverages. It’s on from 28 April to 1 May.