Harleston market smashes record books as 10,000 visitors descend on the town

Harleston Antiques and Vintage Street Market shattered records and expectations on Sunday
Harleston Antiques and Vintage Street Market shattered records and expectations on Sunday

Harleston was left staggered and amazed after its Antiques

and Vintage Market and Midsummer Street Party on Sunday appeared to break town records, with up to 10,000 visitors arriving throughout the day.

The market, organised in conjunction with civic partnership Harleston’s Future, shattered all expectations, prompting a local historian to suggest that Harleston may never have been as busy or so full of people in its entire existence.

Cindy Debenham, a member of the Harleston’s Future Events Group, said: “We were overwhelmed by the response.

“It is the first time we have held a street market and we didn’t know if people would come and support it. The rain held off and the people just kept coming, thousands of them.”

Over 70 stalls selling a wide variety of antiques and food were set up in Market Place, alongside shops that were rewarded for making the rare excursion into Sunday trading.

Former schoolteacher and Harleston expert Gordon Lascelles said: “I doubt if there have been as many people in Harleston since the last Hospital Sunday event in 1906, and it may well exceed even that record.”

The atmosphere was further embellished by Mr Rags and his puppet Bonesy, street performance trio The Inspectors and regular entertainment from Park Radio.

Many of the crowd stuck around for the Midsummer Party later that evening, which included live music from local acts like Funk Soul Brothers, Eva Black, Ceilidh Capers and 15-year-old bluegrass duo Jake and Jack, pupils at Archbishop Sancroft High School.

Nicky Stainton, local business owner and chairman of the Events Group, said: “We have had so much support.

“This sense of a community working together and valuing its unique identity is why I moved here. Harleston really is a very special little place.”