The VFW Post 1115 Memorial Day Flea Market and Gun Show returned on May 28 in Hillsville, bringing back a semblance of normal with participants and vendors keeping it social….even in a socially-distanced format.
Doug Wagoner and Nikki Wilkins of “Wagoner’s Sweets and Eats” were rolling out a new food trailer with frozen, dipped bananas on a stick and gourmet popcorn prominently displayed. Wagoner also sells CBD products. This marked the first and biggest outdoor festival he and partner Nikki Wilkins, both are from Wilkesboro, have been a part of recently.
“The pandemic really hurt us pretty bad. We’ve been waiting for this event…,” said Wagoner. “It’s going to be a good weekend.”
He said the weather, although threatening at times, had remained good for the start of the day Friday.
Wilkins previously served as a medical assistant for 12 years and quit that job to bring to life her vision of a menu with fun as a main ingredient….at no extra charge. Wilkins, like a lot of medical professionals at the front lines fighting COVID-19, left her position afterwards.
“This has been a good experience. I’ve enjoyed it, its been lots of fun,” said Wilkins. “It doesn’t feel like coming to work!”
The booth of local wood carver Mitchell Estes of Willow Ridge Carvings and his mother, Tanya, was the first one for them in the Memorial Day market. He said his business hadn’t suffered that much during the pandemic, bolstered by online sales. Tanya Estes said the market would be an opportunity for the 16-year old to continue to grow his business.
“It’s nice to get out sometimes,” said Estes. “I got started in carving because it was something I thought was neat. I just kinda picked it up. I’ve been doing this three-and-a-half years. I’ve only been sawing for a year-and-a-half though.”
Aaron and Rose Sterling of “Henry’s Fresh Roast” are familiar faces to Hillsville Farmers Market regulars. Unlike some of the vendors at the market, their business has remained steady.
“I think the market has been good. There were some markets closed but coffee is one of those recession-proof kind of things,” said Aaron Sterling. “People are staying at home which means they are going to fewer coffee shops but we ship out online so you can always get stuff from us. Our online sales have really picked up a lot. Unlike other markets, our products are fairly COVID safe…it’s because of packaging. It’s so nice to be out like this…. it’s almost like it’s unnatural to be out again, but I happy for it. People are receptive…they really enjoy it. There’s that social aspect which coffee is a part of. We’ve had people walk up today for long conversations. It’s nice.”
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave