One year on and the Swan Hill Farmer’s Market is still up there as one of my favourite Sunday morning hangouts. I can vividly remember when the love affair began. The first time I discovered it was on one of my regular Sunday long runs; tempting me with tantalising smells of fresh regional produce and warm, friendly faces. My run-starved body couldn’t take the torment any longer, and I was lured in by a cup of Kingfisher’s freshly squeezed juice and an orange juice icy pole. The rest was history.
From that moment on, the Swan Hill Farmer’s Market became my regular post run recovery destination. As soon as my running buddy and I cross the bridge into Victoria at the end of our Sunday runs (once a month) to the faint sound of soothing music or the setting up of tents, our senses invade with urgency and the mood shifts from running, to what we are going to eat. After a subtle water stop and a quick scan of Riverside Park for our favourite vendors, we reluctantly continue running- the bread man, Nigerian deliciousness and fresh fruity goodness infiltrating our thoughts.
So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered the Swan Hill Farmer’s Market Committee was holding an ‘additional’ Christmas Twilight Market this month on Thursday the 22nd December from 4pm until 8pm in Riverside Park. With two recovery sessions in one month, a start on my non-existent Christmas shopping and a relaxing and enjoyable night of Christmas carols and entertainment in the park to lift our Christmas spirit, I’II be primed and ready for the madness of December 25th.
While the regular Farmer’s Market caters well for the whole family with a host of kid’s activities, lunch options and fresh local produce, the Twilight Christmas Market will go one step further. While market goers can expect most of their usual stallholders in attendance, at only a gold coin donation (which supports the work of Sunrise Rotary), last minute Christmas shoppers like myself can expect at least 60 diverse local stall holders as Riverside Park is brought to life with Christmas cheer.
With fresh produce (lamb, beef, pork, vegetables and fruit) for all your Christmas Day catering needs, fresh bread, homemade cakes, slices and biscuits, pickles, relishes, preserves, wine and spritzers (and wine tasting), soap, kid’s clothing and toys, jewellery, homewares and a list that goes on, there really is something for everyone. And to entertain the kids while you immerse yourself in a late night Christmas shopping paradise, there will be an array of kid’s activities such as a colouring competition, face painting and a variety of games on the lawn. It will be an enjoyable evening for the entire family.
And if that’s not enough, Christmas may come early for some lucky shoppers. There will be various hampers loaded with fresh produce up for grabs on the night and entry is easy! For every stall purchase over $10, shoppers will receive a free entry into the draw. Additionally, the Swan Hill Show cubby house raffle (the ultimate Christmas gift) will also be drawn on the night. To be in the running, make sure you get your entries in before the final draw takes place at 7.30pm.
For those eager Christmas shoppers who had their presents wrapped and the pudding baked in June, there are still plenty of reasons to join in on the festivities. And if you’re like me, the absence of cooking at this busy time of the year is at the top of the list. Leave the Christmas turkey in tact, load the kids into the car, bring a picnic rug or some deck chairs and let the stallholders do the work for you as you watch the merry night unfold. Need I say no more?
Always my favourite part of the market and at the core of every Christmas celebration, is the food. And there will be plenty of yummy foods available on the night from wood fire pizzas and BBQ, to icecream and one of my favourite Harmony Day Cooks Helen, who never disappoints with her delicious Nigerian food. And for those who need their caffeine fix, the infamous Jilarty van will be on hand once again to keep you firing amidst the Christmas buzz. Pick up some homemade biscuits or cake to go with it, and you’ll have a match made in heaven.
Relax with your food of choice on the grass, as Rhian Graham and the Swan Hill Theatre Group woo shoppers with their harmonious Christmas carols and endless entertainment; the ideal way to celebrate the festive season with family and friends. However, if it is the big man in red you are seeking, you will have to wait until 6pm when he makes his grand appearance in Riverside Park! And there is a tiny whisper he may come bearing gifts…
So as the Christmas Twilight Market prepares to light up our local community with Christmas merriment for the first time, I highly recommend that you clear your calendars, dust off your picnic rugs and come and join us for a fun-filled evening in the park this Thursday. And in the process, you’ll be supporting hard-working local businesses, growers and their families; the perfect ingredients for a very merry Christmas in Swan Hill!