On Saturday morning my mum and I bundled Eleanor up in her pink Winter coat, cosy knitted bonnet and headed to the nearby town of Mirboo North for the Choo Choo Market.
Run by the Mirboo North playgroup, the market is held every year, but this is the first time it had been held in Winter, with reports from organisers it was successful. Personally, I love Winter in our neck of the woods, especially in the cosy hall with lots of handknitted creations to ooh and ahh over sipping a hot chocolate. This was also the first time I’d heard of the markets (probably something to do with having a newborn or living interstate previous years!) but I’d clearly been living under a rock. The very quaint shire hall was the perfect venue, full of little stalls displaying their handmade goodies. The market has previously had a majority of stalls aimed at children, but this year has diversified to include all manner of creations to highlight the many and varied South Gippsland artisans. Organisers wanted to use the market as an opportunity to showcase local creatives – of which there are plenty! Mirboo North is becoming a little hub of craftiness, with a growing art scene and a true handmade appreciation.
The Choo Choo Market was a buzz of stallholders, organisers and patrons pushing prams (like us!) I have long admired Wendy from The Small Forest Shop and her beautiful warm vests and jackets for little people, made from recycled woollen blankets and lined with vintage linens. Eleanor will get one, but I was thinking perhaps next Winter so she gets more wear out of it – she just grows too fast! Wendy assures me they will do two Winters so I’d rather get a size 2-3. The only problem is which colour?! I do love the pinks and purples, but the orange is beautiful (and unisex) too.
My mum got chatting to the stallholder at Yakkity Yak, who had beautiful felted pretties for sale – garlands of flowers and fairies, little slippers of ladybugs and bumble bees, felt ball rainbow mats and warm animal hats for little heads. As we admired them Mum said it looked just like all the things she’d seen in her travels to Nepal, turns out that’s exactly where everything is sourced and handmade by local ladies! Of course, Richmond mad Grandi couldn’t walk away without the hat for our little tiger cub…
After a few laps of the little hall we made our way over to the regular market in the park across the road, picking up some buttons for knitting and crochet projects, fresh veggies and a few plants for the garden whilst trying to constantly tuck Eleanor’s cold hands under her blanket. Sleepy little Mirboo North was buzzing with the two markets, shops were busy and we struggled to get a park – unheard of! I’m so happy to see a humble little place close to us kicking goals like this, with what looks like a growing bunch of creative minds pushing events like the Choo Choo Markets. It’s so important to create events like this in our local communities, and it was just what the doctor ordered on a cold South Gippy Winter’s weekend.
Choo Choo Markets are an annual event run by the Mirboo North Playgroup. For more information you can visit their Facebook page here.