The highly anticipated first post-lockdown flea market was a major success, with hundreds of excited Goldfielders queueing with masks, umbrellas and prams to wander through their favourite stalls in North Park on Saturday.
There was a strong public demand for the flea market to resume, and so a very special market was organized in just four days for 10 October.
Brian Emmenis, the chairman of the Welkom Publicity Association (WPA) says behind the scenes they not only had to comply with the rules and regulations as set out by the government, but there were also logistical mountains to overcome. “We also had to contend with the sudden resignation of the past chairman as well as the office manager,” says Emmenis.
In the face of adversity the WPA rallied and Emmenis, who was vice-chairman, moved into the hot seat of chairman, and to pull off this mammoth task Giovan Theunissen was brought into the office as manager. Zack Rossouw moved in as head of finance of the WPA
The WPA, which for more than 30 years has been situated in the iconic clock tower in Stateway, also had to vacate its premises and amidst the chaos was relocated to the local radio station (GoldFM).
“Fortunately, the current board operates like a well-oiled machine, with the co-operation of the police and several other roleplayers permissions were granted and the bookings started. The stall owners were faced with a totally new market, and the new protocol required that they had to have social distance, and we could not use their old stand numbers. The stall owners were placed in rows on a first come first served basis, as the bookings came in,” says Emmenis.
“For many people it was a major change. But I have since spoken to many of the exhibitors and the visitors. One exhibitor who frequently attend markets all over South Africa says she sold more than at the regular markets. All the food markets on the day sold out and even the doughnut guy had to go home to get more dough. I have praise for the exhibitors and members of the public who adapted so well to ensure a major success on the day,” he says.
As part of the required protocol to limit the visitors to 500, the WPA invented an amazing teaspoon system. Each person entering the market would drop a teaspoon in the bucket, and then the spoon was removed when they again exited. This was to ensure that there was never more than 500 people on the terrain says Emmenis.
The WPA is now preparing for a major market in November when they are expecting most of their regular exhibitors to return. “This market will be bigger and better.”
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