The first of a series of new artisan markets in Hednesford Town Centre went down a storm on Saturday, despite the morning snowfall!
In fact, the atmosphere in Market Street was described as almost Christmassy – with stalls including crafts and gifts to specialist food and drinks vendors selling everything from paella and samosas to churros with chocolate sauce.
Local produce also featured highly with cheeses, wines and pies on offer. The Penguin Pie seemed particularly apt for the conditions.
Traders commented that the market had attracted new visitors to the town, with lots of new faces mingling with the regulars. And through the chill of the day, the event received a very warm welcome from all involved.
Dates were set last year for four events after residents and traders championed the idea of bringing a market back to Market Street, as a way of attracting new shoppers to the area and to provide a boost to the town’s economy.
Chair of Hednesford in Partnership, Carol Fittes, said: “In all of the consultations we’ve done with local residents, the majority of people asked for regular markets back in Hednesford. It is historically a market town after all, and we believe these speciality markets pay tribute to that heritage. It’s great that we’ve been able to work together as a town to make this happen.
“We were thrilled to see the amount of people that braved the cold to come and support the event, and have received nothing but positive feedback from visitors, traders and market stall holders alike.
“It’s a great foundation to build on and I know the next one in April, celebrating Staffordshire Day, will be bigger and better! Hopefully the weather might be kinder too!”
Councillor Paul Woodhead, who represents Hednesford South on Cannock Chase District Council, and is vice chair of the Hednesford in Partnership group, said he believes the market is an important step forward for the community, following from the retail developments on Victoria Street and the re-invigoration of the park in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“This is something that our entire community has been seeking for quite some time, and we hope that everyone will put these dates in their diaries and come along, helping to make the markets a success, and a fixture in the town for many years to come.”
The next three markets are planned for Staffordshire Day, with stalls on Saturday, April 29, the Summer Festival on Saturday, August 12 and the 2017 Christmas Light Switch-on, with a market the following day, on Saturday, December 2.
Russell Dean, operations manager of Sketts, who will organise the markets, believes the town is an ideal location.
“There’s a great community spirit in the area and with the backing of the local groups I am sure each event will be successful and a benefit to the whole town,” he said.
For more information about Hednesford in Partnership http://www.hednesfordinpartnership.co.uk
Sketts are contracted separately by Cannock Chase District Council to provide a weekly market in Cannock Town Centre. This is an unrelated venture. http://www.sketts.co.uk/