In the market for Christmas

Rileigh Stenning (9) holds a caricature of herself alongside her brother Lane (8) at the Love Local Christmas market at ILT Stadium Southland on Saturday.

CHRISTMAS came early for those who attended the Love Local Christmas market at ILT Stadium Southland at the weekend.

Programme and events manager Josephine Shepard said she was happy with how smooth the event ran.

“It was really great, at 1 o’clock [on Saturday] I was surprised with the amount of people who were there right on the dot.”

To access the market, patrons had to walk through the Christmas Tree Festival, which added to the festivities of the event, she said.

“It’s about bringing the spirit of happiness, joy and positivity in a time which can be pretty stressful.”

The market featured 43 stalls with a range of items including arts and crafts, homemade soaps, plants, clothing, jewellery and baking.

Feedback had been positive from stallholders and members of the public, she said.

“There were smiles all around.”

Live music was featured on both Saturday and Sunday from performers who would feature in the ILT Christmas Variety Show.

Next year, she hoped to see an increase in stall numbers, Miss Shepard said.

“We would like to have more foodstalls but, because of the changes with the traffic light system, we had to restrict numbers.”

Among the hundreds of Southlanders to attend the event were Rileigh, Lane and their mother Stacey Stenning.

Mrs Stenning said they enjoyed the event.

“I think it is a great event for families, my children really enjoyed the Christmas Tree Festival and we have enjoyed the market.”