Have You Been to ECOM
Everything Country Outdoor Market is Saskatchewan’s largest outdoor market “for all things handmade and upcycled”. Held at Wollf Willow Acres just outside of Hague the semi-annual sale covers a staggering six acres of sale space and offers 200 vendors an opportunity to showcase their products without committing to a typical Farmers Market which requires the attendance of participating vendors on a weekly basis throughout the summer. Markets such as this provide opportunities for the small crafter or home-based business to set up a booth once or twice a year and be able to have a sizeable inventory that they have been working on for six months or a year. From soaps and bath bombs to hand-built furniture, the variety of items for purchase is astounding, and as the market has created its reputation when the registrations open for vendors the 200 available stalls fill quickly. Registrations opened on January 7 this year, and on March 9th, they announced via their social media accounts that they were fully booked, and any new registrations would be put on the waiting list.
The May 6th sale day was not nearly as warm as Saskatchewan experienced just three days prior, but that didn’t deter shoppers from coming out in droves to shop. The event started eight years ago and has grown and developed into something greater than the organizers ever dreamed. The gates opened at 9 am and a steady stream of vehicles kept the gate people and parking attendants busy all day. Each year sees improvements in the organization and set-up of the site as Jordan and his family strive to provide the best experience at an outdoor market that both vendors and shoppers can have. The two separate entry lanes prevented any back-up onto the road and got vehicles in and parked quickly. Increased seating and spacing around the picnic tables allowed for ease of access and the addition of benches around the site offered a place for those whose legs needed a break to sit for a bit before resuming their shopping.
With 200 vendors there was much to see, and shoppers would be hard-pressed not to find something to catch their eye whether it be something for a favourite hobby, a collection, or even just some home baking or preserves. Many who were return visitors to the market came armed with wagons or carts to carry their purchases in as they strolled the market, purchasing anything and everything from antiques and collectibles to jewelry and leather goods. Woodworkers and potters, metal workers and blacksmith, knitters, and painters all enthusiastically showed off their products and explained the process they used in their creative process. Unfortunately, due to the weather, it was necessary to shut down two hours early, but the reviews of shoppers and vendors still deemed it to be a successful day and are already looking forward to the fall market day which is normally held in September.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder