Airlie Beach’s iconic markets made their return to the town’s foreshore today after an absence of more than 14 months.
The Lions Airlie Beach Community Markets have been housed at a site in Coconut Grove since September 1 last year while work was done to revitalise the foreshore.
Today was its first day back on the beachfront.
While the market was smaller than usual – there were only about 70 stalls – it actually seemed bigger because of the set-up.
The move back to the foreshore was also overwhelmingly welcomed by market organisers, stall holders and market-goers.
Market manager Allan Gravelle was pleased the market was finally “home” after the long absence.
“Everyone was glad to be home. That’s where the market belongs and everyone was glad to be back there,” he said.
While he said there were “a few alterations” to be done, it was successful.
“There were very few hiccups and nothing we couldn’t handle,” Mr Gravelle said.
Magic Mandalas stall holder Scott Clarke was one of many stall holders plaesed about how the first week back at the foreshore went.
“This is where we’re supposed to be,” he said.
“It’s good for it to finally happen.
“It’s a nice environment, the view is better and there is better breeze.”
Cotton Candy Cowgirls stall holder Rod Taylor said it was “absolutely awesome” to move back to the foreshore.
“The Airlie Beach markets are one of the well-known markets in Australia,” he said.
“The park’s been well designed and created for the tourists.
“This will increase tourism back into Airlie Beach.”
Bowen Mango Sorbet stall holder Patrick Martin was also impressed with the return to the foreshore.
“It’s beautiful. We’re back home,” he said.
“It’s been a long wait. We think it’s well worth it.”
The cruise ship markets will remain at the Coconut Grove site for a couple more weeks before also finally making the move to the foreshore as well.
Source: Whitsunday Times.