FINE, clear and hot Indian summer weather drew crowds of visitors and local people alike to Corner inlet district events, beauty spots and venues right throughout the 2021 Easter long weekend.
Foster’s Promontory Produce and Craft Market organisers said this year’s Easter Sunday market on April 4 had been “one of the biggest markets ever” since they first began during the late 1970s.
Long-time Waratah Bay residents observed that they had “never seen so many people on the beach” as there were on Easter Saturday afternoon April 3.
“A glorious, sunny public holiday day combined with a high tide at Waratah, and plenty of visitors staying in the village and the beach was packed, from the boat ramp to right along past the caravan park,” one local said.
“There were heaps of people swimming, too, and perfect little waves kept rolling in all afternoon!”
The Great Southern Rail Trail between Leongatha and Welshpool seemed more like a busy city street at times rather than its usual quiet country track during the Easter period, especially those reaches near Koonwarra, Meeniyan, Fish Creek and Foster.
Cyclists were predominant, though there were quite a few walkers, along with one or two scooter-riders, and even a one-wheel electric skateboard, which made the long climb up the eastern side of the Hoddle look easy.
District cafes, restaurants, hotels and refreshment places reported strong demand, with local shopkeepers kept right on their toes, particularly on Easter Saturday morning.
Nearly every type of local holiday accommodation, ranging from beach houses and rural retreats to motels and pub rooms with the bathroom down the hall, was, as one South Gippsland booking and management service put it, “packed full”.
TWO LOOPS OF MARKET STALLS
Two loops of stalls ringed the oval at the Foster Showgrounds at the Easter Sunday Promontory Produce and Craft Market, including tables displaying the wares offered by several new sellers.
“The oval looked absolutely magnificent, what with all of the stalls and just so many people!” said market organising committee member Lyn Linton.
“The redevelopment of the Foster Basketball Stadium has meant we’ve had to relocate some of our permanent stallholders, and to use the inside edge of the oval as well as the outside,” she said.
“We were all amazed by how many stalls there were and also by the incredible lot of holidaymakers who came along on Sunday to one of the biggest markets ever!”
The six-event Promontory Market season, from the Melbourne Cup long weekend, through the summer and on to Easter, is run each year as a joint community fundraising project by the Rotary Club of Foster and the Toora Lions Club.
The market committee consists of members hailing from both service clubs. The clubs share the duties of stall booking and management, and car parking and traffic control.
Lyn, a Rotarian, said most of the inner oval sites were taken up by casual stall holders, along with “some of our temporarily dispossessed regulars.
“There were a lot of gaps at our previous market on the Labour Day long weekend in March, the first one to be held after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.
“This time though, a lot of our usual permanents returned, and we also got more casuals and newcomers.
“There were a number of stalls at this market with some really great high-quality items for sale, such as baskets made out of cotton rope, and beautifully-finished recycled timber coffee tables,” Lyn said.
“One thing we did notice this market was that there weren’t enough coffee stalls to cope with the demand from all of the stallholders and the market goers, quite apart from the service club members!”
Many stallholders had arrived at the Showgrounds and were already setting up by 6 am on Sunday, prompting Lyn to think that perhaps they might have forgotten that daylight saving in Victoria had ended for the year earlier that morning.
“We all got an extra hour at the market, though,” she laughed.
“The Easter Sunday market was a true spectacle and the gate takings and stall fees returned a great result to the Lions and Rotary, which is divided 50-50, less expenses, and put towards our various community projects.”