Oakham arts and crafts market set for Saturday launch in Gaol Street
A community group set up to protect and promote Oakham is to launch a new monthly arts and crafts market this weekend.
The market, organised by 4Oakham, is to be held in Gaol Street on the first Saturday of each month, running in conjunction with the town's main weekly market.
Around 10 stalls will feature at this weekend's launch, including jewellery, ceramics, homeware and woodcraft, with more stalls already confirmed for August.
The idea has been up to five months in the planning, and a year-long licence was secured to close Gaol Street to traffic for the event.
"I think it will be successful," said 4Oakham director June Fox, who also chairs Rutland County Council's growth, infrastructure and resources scrutiny committee.
"People already come into Oakham on Saturday for the main market and this will add another dimension at the other end of town.
"We hope this will help get footfall from Tesco's along Gaol Street and into the high street.
"We are a bit restricted with Covid at the moment in terms of spacing, but longer term we will be looking for 25 stalls when all the restrictions have lifted."
Oakham also hosts a farmers' market on the third Saturday of every month, and 4Oakham hope to add further events to the calendar.
"We would like to have an event in Oakham every single weekend to being people in," added Coun Fox.
"In summer we do have a lot of tourists and we'd like to give them a really good experience."
The four-strong 4Oakham partnership was born out of Oakham Town Task and Finish Group and its ideas to improve the town centre which it presented to Rutland County Council in 2018.
"We have been supported by Oakham Town Council who are helping fund the licence, and Oakham Town Partnership have also helped us with planning and with insurance," Coun Fox explained.
"So it's been a joint project which is what 4Oakham is meant to be about - to work in partnership to bring business here and make the town a better place to shop, play and visit.
"We are always looking for people to volunteer and to share their ideas for projects."
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