Nearly 3000 shoppers poured into a Christmas artisan market at Reaseheath College in Nantwich on Saturday, eager to buy original gifts made by local designers and craftspeople.

The ‘Etsy Made Local’ market, being held at Reaseheath for the third year, showcased products from over 60 South Cheshire members of Etsy, the online community which enables crafters and designers to sell their handmade or vintage goods. Cheese and Christmas cakes made by Reaseheath students were also on sale.

The market, which was organised with the help of the college’s event management students, attracted visitors from a wide area, many of whom were combining the day with a visit to Nantwich town centre.

A festive atmosphere was provided by a choir and a busker and a café for weary shoppers was run by degree level students studying business and rural events management. Level 3 Diploma students provided a wrapping service and ran a very successful raffle to raise funds for Diabetes UK, Reaseheath’s charity of the year.

The market was opened by the Mayor of Nantwich, Councillor David Marren, who said: “This is a great opportunity for local shoppers to buy something different for their families at Christmas. There are so many sophisticated and unusual gifts in one place.”

The Captain of Etsy South Cheshire, Chris Taylor, commented: “We are absolutely delighted at the help the students have given us. Considering most only started their course in September they have really stepped up to the mark and have helped us to put on a fantastic event.

“Normally a vibrant event like this is held in a city centre and my vision was to bring it to a rural area where it could be enjoyed by local communities. With the students’ help we have achieved this.”

Level 3 Business and Events student Ruby Doe said: “It’s been very interesting working on the build-up to the Christmas market because we’ve been involved in so many different things like health and safety, budgeting and car parking.

“Today has been fun because we’ve seen it all come to fruition.”

Reaseheath’s mini zoo, complete with a festive trail, is open each weekend before Christmas. Father Christmas and his elves will be visiting a grotto at the zoo on Saturday afternoons on December 8th, 15th and 2nd. Christmas trees and plants will also be for sale. Find out more here.