A fall market in Nightingale is helping to keep the lights on in the local community hall as the facility continues to face challenges through COVID-19.
“This is a fall market, the people who manage the Nightingale Hall, they were talking about how they weren’t getting a lot of help— there’s nothing out there with COVID-19 (to support) halls and community centers,” said organizer Dalia Cheshire.
“We call it the Wheatland Wonders because we’re in Wheatland County and I try to pull from all over Wheatland County and to bring people into Wheatland.”
The fall market is the second such occasion at the Nightingale Community Hall, following a similar event which was held for Mother’s Day in the spring.
The intent of the market is for all proceeds generated by attending vendors to go towards keeping the community hall operating.
“I want to keep doing this to help out the Nightingale Hall, to help out their board members. I don’t profit from it at all, I do it all for them,” said Cheshire.
“(The market) is definitely helping them in the sense that they’re able to make bills. Because they can’t have any indoor functions… they aren’t getting funding (from) anywhere else to pay the bills, to keep the lights on, to keep the power going.”
Cheshire added she plans to host another such market around Christmas.
“A lot of places and people have been renting halls and making it like a part time job where they just get all these markets going and all of these vendors going, but they’re not putting the advertising behind it and they’re not putting the word behind it,” explained Cheshire.
She added the process to get approved and have the market off the ground was not overly complex or troublesome, and is encouraging more to try similar ideas.
According to Cheshire, much of the fear of hosting falls more around being able to do it properly and following all the provincial restrictions to as to not violate protocols.
“The hall board themselves are very cautious and they want to cancel the market right away as soon as new COVID-19 restrictions come out.”
“Being the market organizer, I was fearful of it not being jam packed, you know that a vendor or a customer would come in and be like, ‘oh, there's hardly anything here is it even worth our time?’”
A quirk of the community, she explained, is thus far many of the folks who reside in the area have visited and supported the market.
Cheshire hopes to continue expanding the market over time as it develops notoriety and advertising reaches farther.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times