|Michael Gordon arrives to shop at St. Jacobs Christmas Market|
|Summer sausage at St. Jacobs|
On the periphery of the market barn, the more hardy vendors have set up al fresco stalls. Out here where a fresh wind whips roses into the cheeks of outdoor vendors, the festive season is not yet evident.
Marcello Didiano, an Italian fruit seller, has the right idea. A rollicking hubbub of foot-stomping Italian folk music blares from a van parked on the edge of his tiny selling space.
The irrepressible Marcello keeps time to his music – probably in an effort to ward off freezing temperatures - by dancing up and down and waving his arms. Marcello’s neighbor who is selling honey is equally lively. Close-by, a sweet-faced Mennonite woman muffled up in coat and black bonnet, stacks courgettes and spreads new potatoes on a frost-rimmed tray. She smiles politely, but refuses my request for a photo.
|Roses for sale|
There is no place quite like St. Jacobs Market. For foodies it’s paradise. For vendors, their booths crammed with delicacies, its a welcome addition to the Christmas purse.
I’m a pushover for cookies, and ‘Gracies Christmas Cookies’ smell, look, and taste delectable. A notice propped up on a tray filled with ‘temptation’, alerts me to the fact that Gracie is not providing samples that day.
|Gracie's Yummy Cookies|
Leaving Eileen with customers clamoring for her attention, I head for “The Fritter Company”. The line-up for steaming hot apple fritters stretches forever.
Even canines are catered to in this festive season. Massive bones – guaranteed to keep a cantankerous hound happy for days - are arrayed in a macabre display on a meat counter. The bones are going for $10 apiece.
For a bird’s eye view, I visit the upper echelons of the barn where retailers of every description do a brisk trade. There are jewelery sellers, crafts of every description including unusual Christmas tree decorations, a stall with sheepskin hats, “sheep skin, not cheap skin” as their advertisement implies, and a hat stand selling ‘hats with bling’. Nearby one can browse for undiscovered treasures in a flea market, or shop for high-end furniture made by Mennonite craftsmen at ‘St. Jacobs Furnishings’. There is something for everyone.
|Mugs for sale at Full of Beans coffee bar|
Each December, as vendors, Mennonite and modern, work side by side in the warmth and sumptuous fragrance of St. Jacobs Christmas market, one can’t help but be immersed in a joyous mingling of Christmases past and Christmas present.
Images copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Thursday, 23rd December, 2010