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Saaremaa aims to revive regular city market tradition to trade island goods

Kuressaare market.
Kuressaare market. Source: Ehtne Saaremaa

For years, the usefulness and necessity of a town market in Kuressaare has been discussed. The Christmas market is now over, but it shows that for a market to work in Kuressaare, both money and Santa Claus are needed.

Kuressaare Christmas market was held on five occasions this year.

"We started with one day, in the second year we tried three days, last year it was four days, this year it has been already five days," Koit Kelder, Christmas market organizer, said.

The Christmas market was once again distinctive in that only island products were sold. Whether for consumption, distribution or for other practical or aesthetic reasons. A total of 40 independent producers – traders, many of whom value face-to-face trade.

"The market is the best place to go because you can be sure you are buying directly from the farmer," says beekeeper Joel Pukk.

Saarte Koostöökogu (SKK), the islands cooperation council, which promotes the Ehtne Saaremaa brand and also organized the Christmas market, says it cost about €5,000 a day for various parties to organize and run the Christmas market. The vendors did not have to pay.

"People lost the habit of going to the market. And this needs to be gradually restored; each time we see more sellers and more buyers," Kelder said.

And of course, Santa himself was happy to watch the haggling, and he had his own way of getting involved.

"When I was on summer vacation, I also walked around the city and I noticed that there was nothing going on in the market. And now, when I put on my hat, all the market people are there," Santa said.

Kuressaare market. Source: Ehtne Saaremaa
Kuressaare market. Source: Ehtne Saaremaa

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Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa

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