Shelley Squire remembers going to flea markets, pow wows, and craft fairs with her family and credits her passion behind the new Grand River Artisan Market to those memories as a child. It’s more than just selling crafts to her, it’s about building community.
“I went to pow wows with my grandparents and flea markets with my uncle growing up. I loved the section of those events where you could walk around and meet new people, talk about their passions, and get to know more about the people who lived around me,” says Squire. “I’ve always been into that and the Grand River Artisan Market is all about that too — supporting local artisans and getting to know your community better.”
Squire held a few successful markets last spring but with COVID-19 numbers on the rise and Six Nations setting up new pandemic protocols, the market had to be cancelled until the situation changed.
“Everything was closed because of COVID and I had already prepared a lot of my own product to sell at conferences and shows in 2020. I knew other local vendors were in a similar situation as me — we had the stock, but we had to shut down,” she says. “This year I talked with my husband and we wanted to try again because it was such a good time.”
To Squire, it’s more than just buying crafts and eating some of your favourite snacks. After a long 18 months of heavy lockdown with little community interaction, the market is a place to see people, talk, and reconnect while checking out some unique items that people have been working on since last year.
“Come out and support local artisans and small businesses. We need it. Getting together, respecting one another, and being a community again is what it’s all about. If anybody wants to be involved as a vendor, or even for entertainment, reach out and let’s get connected.”
She says the vendors at the market are going to vary from week to week but there will be some regulars making a weekly or bi-weekly appearance. New vendors will cycle in and out.
“This week I’m excited to have a tarot reader out there, and we’ve also got a person who does massages. Jewellery, massages, food, candles, clothing, it’s really exciting. I’m trying to learn from other shows out there how to best run a market like this and it’s all so exciting right now.”
You’ll find the market at 1008 Highway 54, Caledonia, on Saturdays from now until October, weather permitting. Squire said it costs vendors $20 for a spot and vendors need to bring their own tables and set up equipment.
“Give me a call if you’re interested. We provide the space, you provide everything else,” she says. “It’s professional but also laid back. Eat, visit, bring a lawn chair, listen to some music. Just come with a good mind and enjoy yourself.”