By Colin MacGillivray
KINGLAKE Market will make its long-awaited return after a seven-month hiatus this Sunday.
Market organisers expect a bumper crowd, with about 80 stallholders registered for the day.
Organiser and newly-elected Murrindindi Shire councillor Ilona Gerencser said it would be a day of celebration for the region.
“It’s probably going to be one of the biggest markets we’ve had outside of our Christmas market,” she said.
“We’ll have plants, artisan goods, lots of food, fresh produce – we have so much stuff coming. We have free kids activities including a jumping castle, go karts and laughing clown machines.
“We will be having inside stalls – not as many as usual because of all the restrictions, but we’ve got a COVID-safe plan in place.
“There will be tables and chairs outside and there will be social distancing procedures.
“Everybody was on top of the world when we announced we were going to reopen this month and we’ve had such a huge response from the stallholders.
“This year has affected everybody and it’s just nice to have some positivity and bring tourists back to regional Victoria.”
Ms Gerencser said the market had rebranded from Kinglake Produce and Artisan Market to simply Kinglake Market.
“We thought we’d make it easier for everybody by simplifying the name, and it leaves us open to accepting a greater variety of stalls as well,” she said.
“There’s probably about 20 new stalls, which is fantastic.
“We’ve got some young kids who started up with hobbies like welding and metalwork and we’ve given them free stalls, because they’ve done that to boost their income and keep themselves busy while lockdown was on. It’s a couple of local kids, one from Whittlesea and one from Chirnside Park.
“There are a lot of new stalls and I think it’s going to be a fantastic day.”
Ms Gerencser said patrons and stallholders alike were thrilled to welcome back the market, which supported the Rotary Club of Kinglake Ranges.
“All the money from the stall fees and any gold coin donations goes towards the projects that they have on the cards for the community,” she said.
“Last year they raised money for an all-terrain transport that could be used by disabled people and donated that to Parks Victoria.
“That means people who are disabled can still go out with their families in the region and go on the trails.
“That’s basically what we do every year – we have a big project that we save money for and it all goes back into the community.”
The Kinglake Market will be from 10am to 3pm on Sunday at 94 Whittlesea-Kinglake Road Kinglake.