Creative makers displayed their goods for the first time this year at the Minden artisan market on June 19.

Returning and new vendors said they were excited to meet customers face-to-face once more: last year’s season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“It’s very nice to see people,” said Elvina Kaplun, who’s sold wire and leather jewelry for three years at the market. “And to see my clients who’ve already come; my regular customers.”

For Andrea Draker, of Highlands Soy Candle Co., the first artisan market since 2019 was also the first time she’s been able to show off her selection of candles. She started her business in January, and until now, “everything has been online,” she said.

“I was bored, I wanted to do something, and when everything opened up, I was looking forward to markets.”

Despite the chance to chat with customers, the market looks different this year, with a capacity of 10 spaced-out vendors.

There are COVID protocols in place, such as mask wearing and hand sanitizing, a defined entrance and exit, one-way travel through the market and social distancing.

This year, artisans are located beside the farmers market as opposed to the previous downtown location.

Up and down the row of stalls, people chatted with vendors – many expressed excitement to be back at the market.

For vendors such as Katie Raftis and her daughter Olivia Rickard, the market was a chance to chase longstanding dreams.

“I kind of funneled my creative energy into making stuff for the market,” Raftis said, explaining how COVID-19 meant a pause on her event planning career.

She developed her skill in creating resin art while her daughter crafted painted wooden decorations and ornaments including paddle-shaped coat racks. They displayed their creations for the first time.

“For years, I’ve attended and bought from the market, and kind of hoped and dreamed of doing it,” Raftis said. “With all the extra time on my hands, I had to do something.”

The market will run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Thanksgiving weekend.

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