• Market on Main

    Market on Main

    Osoyoos Market on Main is popular summer Saturday morning outing

    Around 8 a.m. on a summer Saturday morning, vendors are busy setting up for the Osoyoos Market on Main.
    The market runs from early May right through to the end of September, or in the case of 2022, to Oct. 1.
    It’s held in the Town Square park next to town hall on Main Street. Most vendors set up canopy tents to provide shade in the blistering summer sun.
    Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine.

    Vendors set up canopy tents at Town Square in downtown Osoyoos for the Saturday morning Market on Main. (Richard McGuire Photo)

    In July and August, there’s also a Tuesday evening market at Gyro Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    Crafts and produce must be locally made or grown. The majority of vendors sell a variety of crafts and handmade items. But there are also farmers selling fresh fruits and vegetables they’ve grown.
    “We’re a bona fide farmers’ market, meaning we’re a member of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets,” says Janis St. Louis, president of the market’s board of directors.
    “To do that, we have to follow certain rules,” she adds. “Everyone who’s here has to either make, bake, or grow the product they’re selling. So if somebody is selling pickles, they made them themselves.”
    The market is run by a volunteer board of directors, made up of vendors, who typically take on a responsibility such as looking after social media, bookkeeping, or organizing vendors.
    Would-be vendors must apply and be accepted. Some pay for the entire season; others get punch cards to pay for five markets at a time. Still others pay as they go each week.
    It’s the first year at the market for Jonna Booth, who runs Handmade Stuffies and Things. She crochets toy animals based on cartoon characters from Looney Tunes, Pokémon and elsewhere. She estimates she’s made more than 200 since she started five years ago.
    “I found this market awesome,” says Booth. “Everybody here is wonderful and so are the patrons… This is my first year, but it’s a wonderful experience and I would definitely do it again.”

    Jonna Booth shows off the handmade "stuffies" she crochets of cartoon characters. The blue dragon was her favourite and took well over 100 hours to make. She sold it the following week. (Richard McGuire Photo)

    Roy Bainbridge is in his second year at the market running his business, Five Sets of Hands. Originally there were about five people - relatives and friends - involved, but now he does most of it himself.
    He sells everything from dog treats to moisturizing cream to arthritis cream, room sprays and even walking sticks from wood on his property.
    “These are all things that mean something to me,” he says, adding that he has a dog, arthritis, and dry skin.
    He’s happy with the market.
    “I like it a lot,” he says. “It’s a nice, small market. Perfect for me.”

    Roy Bainbridge has a booth for his business Five Sets of Hands, selling everything from arthritis cream to walking sticks. (Richard McGuire Photo)

    There are several farmers selling fruits and vegetables they’ve grown. 
    Among them are Wayne Pendergraft, who farms on the Osoyoos East Bench and has been coming to the market for 14 years. Often his daughters look after the booth.
    Gurinder Singh Buttar was doing his very first market that August morning, selling fruit he grows on his farm south of Oliver.
    “I’m really happy to be here,” he says. “People are really nice and so helpful. The atmosphere is really good, music going on… I love it here. I didn’t expect this much happiness here. It’s such a great place to be.”
    The following Saturday, he sold out all his fruit and vegetables about an hour before closing.

    Gurinder Singh Buttar was doing his very first market on an August Saturday, selling fruit from his farm south of Oliver. (Richard McGuire Photo)

    One of the attractions of the market is the live music often.
    On this August Saturday, Roland Berg was strumming an electric guitar and singing popular songs from the 1970s and ’80s.
    Another popular performer is Su Wolfe, of Flip Flop Farms near Cawston, who runs a booth with her husband Chris and is also in charge of vendors.
    She sings “vintage” songs, mostly from the 1930s to 1950s. Many are wartime songs from such English singers as Vera Lynn.
    “To me, it’s real music,” she says. “It tells a story. There’s a lot of emotion behind it. I just don’t think they make songs like they used to.”

    Su Wolfe often entertains at the market, singing "vintage" songs from the 1930s to 1950s, such as wartime songs by Vera Lynn. She also has a booth selling farm products with her husband Chris and she coordinates vendors. (Richard McGuire Photo)

    Especially in the summer, visitors come from throughout the Okanagan Valley, the Lower Mainland, Alberta, and even farther afield – some from Europe.
    But a lot of locals also make Market on Main part of their summer Saturday morning routine, dropping by to shop and socialize. Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff is one such regular visitor.
    Janis St. Louis, the president of the board of directors, notes that Market on Main has been running since 2006 and has seen expansion over the years. Besides the addition of the Tuesday evening market, there are also plans for pre-Christmas markets at the Legion Hall in October and November.
    “It’s a fun place to be,” she says. “If you want to just come down and have a look around, have a coffee, and enjoy and visit some of your neighbours – we have people that meet here regularly on Saturdays.”
    Story and photos by Richard McGuire
    Osoyoos Market on Main
    Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Town Square, Osoyoos

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