While most of the Illawarra bunkered down amid torrential rain, about 1500 people braved the elements to visit the second Port Kembla spiritual markets.
Held in the Port Kembla Senior Citizens Centre, the markets are the brainchild of former artillery gunner Kelly Lorrimer.
After working in the Army and for Defence Force recruitment, Ms Lorrimer and her husband decided to turn what was a side project into a full time endeavour.
"We just found over time that when we sat down, we weren't getting the life balance that we liked," she said.
Ms Lorrimer had found that spirituality, channelled through crystals, provided her with a sense of calm.
"The transition from defence into civilian life was spiritual for us," she said.
This led Ms Lorrimer to purchase a spiritual business on Wentworth Street in Port Kembla in June 2021. Called Chimera Crystals, during COVID the business became a hub for spiritual producers who were looking to find a place to stock their wares.
Unable to stock all those who were coming to her with products, Ms Lorrimer began planning for a spiritual market to be held in Port Kembla to enable producers to talk directly to consumers.
The first market was held in April, and was such a success that stallholders decided to band together for another in July. The markets had tapped into a spiritual community within Port Kembla, while also drawing in visitors from further afield.
"We see people getting into it, and once they start their journey they want to do more classes and events," Ms Lorrimer said. "But this area is a bit of a spiritual hub."
Durign the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, Ms Lorrimer said a lot more people had time to stop and consider, and this opened them up to spirituality and other ways of thinking.
"There was a lot of soul searching going on in that time and when you're not distracted by the hustle and bustle, you sit down and think spiritually and explore."
Ms Lorrimer's aim has also been to provide a new kind of energy to the Port Kembla commercial strip as she and other new business owners have sought to revitalise the area.
"There's so many good eateries, coffee shops and really nice, boutique stores in the main street and that's what we want to bring awareness to."
For the next iteration of the markets, Ms Lorrimer said she hopes to expand outdoors - weather permitting - and engage a broader segment of the community.
"I'm just hoping to get that community spirit about it to bring even more people to Port Kembla."
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