Award for Market Rasen traders as monthly events prove a success
A monthly market set up as part of efforts to revive a town's fortunes has scooped a national award.
Market Rasen Business Improvement Group only started running its market last May.
But it has now been crowned the UK's best small speciality market by the National Association of British Market Authorities.
The award continues the momentum of the £100,000 Portas Pilot campaign by the Mr Big team.
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The NABMA rewarded the team for pioneering local entrepreneurship and their outstanding markets at a conference in Birmingham last week.
Mr Big's volunteer director of community, arts and culture, Sarah Lamballe, said: "Market Rasen will continue to be home to big markets.
"We have 10 themed extravaganzas in 2013 which will run on the first Saturday of every month. Every Big market is individually themed and offers additional entertainment.
"On Saturday we had free theatre and craft workshops for families and a busking drummer. On March 3, we'll have party and circus skills, including jugglers, stilt-walkers and unicycles all over the market place.
"We have free car parking – which helps attract far more footfall than many market towns and places where shoppers have to pay to park.
"But Saturday was quieter because it's so early in the year and it was bitterly cold."
The award is another boost for the town buzzing at the Arts Council's £10,000 investment which will transform Market Rasen into one big art gallery.
Holly Smith, who sells home-made candles and gifts from her Holly's House range, praised the Mr Big team for helping traders.
"I'd written off January and February because of the cold weather," she said. "But the Mr Big market has changed all that because the organisers simply can't do enough for you.
"They keep you informed by e-mail, even turning out early in the morning to help set up the stalls. They are so well organised that they deserve an award.
"Market Rasen's themed monthly event is the best market I've ever done because it's putting the town on the map.
"My takings were only down by a third and it makes it all worthwhile because I get extra business from customers who check me out on Facebook."