If I were living my parallel life (meaning the life we left behind in Australia) today I would be going to the Bangalow Markets. Held on the fourth Sunday of each month at Bangalow show-grounds, of all the North Coast markets, Lismore, Nimbin, Byron, Ballina, Lennox Head, and the Channon, Bangalow market is my favorite. While each of the markets are made up of many of the same vendors, what makes Bangalow market special is the beautiful grounds the market is held on. Eleven huge, old, camphor laurel trees provide welcome shade to market goers. The rustling leaves create a magical forest atmosphere and if ever you have visited you will agree, Bangalow market is special. It seems like even on the hottest North Coast Sunday, you can find shade and a cool breeze there. I like also that the Bangalow market is set only a block back from the main street of Bangalow which has a wonderful assortment of boutiques and restaurants. It is very convenient that I can park my car in a shady spot and stroll through both the market and the gorgeous shops.
I would have been disappointed if we had missed out on the Bangalow market during our Australia trip, but thankfully the month long holiday meant it would occur within our time frame. I made sure when the fourth Sunday came around, we were there. The Girls thought it was wonderful, so very vibrant and eclectic with many beautiful hand made items for them to swoon over. I am grateful that this market is still a place for craftsman, artists, bakers, therapists, herbalists, farmers, and other unique hobbyist, as well as lots of interesting imported cultural objects. I picked up a new camphor laurel cutting board and the Girls got a few fun things too. We found a very sweet co-operative Waldorf stall that we must have stood at for 1/2 and hour. The Girls were in heaven looking at all of the special things, and I really enjoyed talking with one of the co-op crafters.
I like to think that the Bangalow Markets will always be like this, full of special people who are finding fulfillment in making and selling arts and crafts. I love to buy from the hands of the artist, it makes shopping so much more rewarding to pay a person directly for their skills. While many markets these days have lost handmade, Bangalow Markets continues to burst with it. It was comforting to me that even though it had been years since I was there last not much had really changed. The air was infused with incense, essential oils, and the aroma of delicious healthy food. All around was a kaleidoscope of colour, combined with an alternative earthiness. There were bare foot adults and near naked children, standing, talking, sitting in dirt or on tree roots, seeming so at home. It was also comforting that I could still find, in reality, a grown man wearing fairy wings carrying a bucket of honey or was it macadamia butter? Oh how I miss this alternate lifestyle. There is definitely an esoteric undercurrent at the Bangalow markets. One gets the sense of a market family, the vendors and the long time regular visitors seem like a contemporary tribe. Stepping into the Bangalow markets, is like stepping into another world. A world so familiar, but oh so far away now…I hope my friends, some of you enjoyed Bangalow market on Sunday!