MARYBOROUGH PROUD: Markets bringing our city to life
THE delicious smell of freshly cooked food hangs in the air and the streets are bustling as a range of stallholders sell their wares.
Some have been there for 30 years - since the markets first filled the streets of Maryborough.
Others have been there for two weeks but they are already starting to appreciate the sense of community in the Heritage City.
The Maryborough Markets, held every Thursday, brings the central business district to life.
The weekly event has become an integral part of the city's economy since it first began in 1987, giving a boost to businesses in Adelaide, Kent, Ellena and Lennox Streets.
Only floods have stopped it from going ahead.
Wayne Usher remembers the early days, when it was essentially an arts and crafts market.
As that evolved he joined the regular gathering, selling hardware from his stall.
He's still there every Thursday morning, 30 years on.
"I've made a lot of friends over the years, both customers and stallholders," he said.
"I started selling jacks and big spanner sets and went from there."
Wendy and Steve Swan from Burbank Orchid Nursery, moved from Brisbane to Bauple last year and soon became involved in the markets.
They have long had a passion for orchids and love selling them in Maryborough, where there is a great admiration for the beauty of the flowers.
Wendy said while the weather could be a bit unpredictable, the couple never let that stop them.
"Two weeks ago here it bucketed down," Wendy said.
"We're here rain, hail or shine."
Wendy said they are enjoying living in the region.
"We love the area, we love Maryborough," she said.
"All the other stallholders are very nice, everyone is."
Rick Elvins has been at the markets for a couple of years selling fruit and delicious honey.
He picks up the fruit, including lemons, avocados and pineapples, from Gayndah each week and brings it back to be sold in Maryborough.
"We normally have a lot of citrus," he said.
While Rick has only been at the Maryborough Markets for two years, he has spent the past 25 years selling goods at market stalls.
"I meet lots of different people," he sad.
"It's great to live here. It's a great little country town with all the amenities you need."
Paul Russell has only had his stall at the Maryborough Markets for two weeks, but already he is enjoying the people and the city.
He travels from the Sunshine Coast to set up his jewellery stall.
"It's a nice market with a nice atmosphere," he said.
Paul, who operates Aphrodite Jewellery, was once a regular at the Caloundra Street Fair each Sunday, but changes to the market were met with frustration by many stallholders.
The stalls must now turn to face the retail shops on Bulcock St instead of facing the street.
The change was defended by Caloundra Chamber of Commerce president Michael Shadforth, who spoke to the Sunshine Coast Daily in November last year.
He said the change had resulted in a boost for retailers, with crowds flocking to the footpath between the retailers and first row of stalls, but Paul said the overall effect on the markets had not been positive.
Paul said the number of stallholders had gone down dramatically since the decision to change the markets was made last year and he much preferred to be in Maryborough with the traditional market environment.
"This is a proper market," he said. "It brings people into the streets."