End of an era as Oval Craft Market closes after 30 years

2015-07-08 09:29
Some of the original stallholders celebrating the Oval Craft Market’s 27th Anniversay. (From left) Hugh and Lucy Zank, Eileen Arbuckle, Mike and Wendy McGregor and Gori and Goolam Kadir.

Some of the original stallholders celebrating the Oval Craft Market’s 27th Anniversay. (From left) Hugh and Lucy Zank, Eileen Arbuckle, Mike and Wendy McGregor and Gori and Goolam Kadir. (File)

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AFTER 30 years of providing craft and entertainment, the much loved Maritzburg Oval Craft Market has finally closed its stalls.

With the first market being held in 1985, the market’s organiser for over 20 years, Monica Ashe, said although the facility had closed, the journey had been a “truly happy and exciting” one.

“I was involved in the market since day one and began running it after five or six years. It has been such a fantastic journey and I have only missed one market in all of the 30 years that it ran,” she said.

Ashe said there were many happy success stories of people who first began selling crafts at the Oval Craft Market. However, when the market began experiencing financial strain, she made the “difficult decision” to close it down.

“Unfortunately, in recent years, the ever increasing municipal site fees and advertising costs have caused this family entertainment to be curtailed, rather than have the cost impact on the stallholders who were already facing financial difficulties.

“Sadly, the facilities provided, including toilet blocks, have deteriorated in spite of the increased fees, and this has placed a further strain on the management of the market.

“It took me a year to finally decide to close the market down, but for the 30 years it ran, it really was such a fantastic journey. I have met so many amazing people along the way and I can honestly say I gave it my all,” said Ashe.

Groundcover owner Amanda McCarthy said her now successful leatherwork business in Curry’s Post first got its footing at the Oval Craft Market.

“It was such a great market. We lived off it and it gave us our footing to where we are today. Without it, we really would have struggled.

“We used to head out to the market with our baby and two toddlers once a month to sell our wares. It was a really great crowd and I only have fond memories of the market.”

McCarthy said the crowd was always very interactive with the stallholders and her customers from the Oval Craft Market were the inspiration behind many of the styles in the store today.

“It is very sad to hear that the market is closing. It was a real starting point for us and everyone sold really well there.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  craft

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