Over 4,300 shoppers poured into a Christmas artisan market at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, eager to buy original gifts made by local designers and craftspeople.

The ‘Etsy Made Local’ market, being held at Reaseheath for the fourth year, showcased products from over 50 South Cheshire members of Etsy, the online community which enables crafters and designers to sell their handmade or vintage goods.

There were free goody bags for the first fifty adult visitors, mulled fruit punch and cakes to refresh the weary and a complementary gift wrapping service provided by Reaseheath’s business and rural event management students, who helped to organise the event.

A Christmas Food and Drink Festival, running at the same time, gave visitors the chance to buy Reaseheath made Christmas cakes, butter and award-winning cheese, festive plants from its horticulture department and Christmas trees. Wreath making workshops run by floristry technician Dave Billington were another attraction.

Children met Santa and his reindeer and elves, enjoyed Christmas craft making at Reaseheath’s Forest School and visited the college zoo, where there were workshops to make Christmas presents for some of the animals.

Delicious afternoon teas were available in Reaseheath’s historic hall, accompanied by festive songs by the One Achord ladies choir from Malpas.

The event was opened by Reaseheath Principal Marcus Clinton, who said: “Reaseheath prides itself on being at the heart of its local community and this event has given local people a great opportunity to enjoy Christmas shopping in a wonderful atmosphere.”

The Captain of the Etsy South Cheshire team, Hannah Boulter, commented: “I’d like to thank all our visitors and everyone who gave their time to help to make this event such a great success! It has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work of local designers, makers, artists, curators and bakers.

“We were delighted with the help from Reaseheath’s business and events students, who together with our team of volunteers, went above and beyond to bring the vibrant Etsy Made Local event to our rural community.

“I’d like to give a special thank you to everyone choosing to shop with small businesses this Christmas. Supporting our local artisans not only helps to build a thriving creative scene, but also means finding something totally different that you won’t find on the high street!”

Reaseheath’s mini zoo is open each weekend before Christmas and on most days throughout the school holiday. Father Christmas and his elves will be at the zoo grotto on Sundays December 8th, 15th and 22nd. Click here to find out more.