When Joan Jong woke up the morning of July 18 it was going to be a special day — the day she married the love of her life, Kalvin Krause.
What she didn’t know was what her romantic groom, with help from family and friends, had secretly planned to make the day a celebration for the Armstrong Farmers Market and whole community.
“I was expecting a quiet wedding just before the afternoon reception. My family had done most of the organizing because I was busy in the garden,” said Jong, a longtime vegetable vendor at the market.
The Jong family is well known for being among the first market gardeners in the area and one of the families still gardening.
Jong also works full time at Parkview Place seniors’ residence but with the encouragement of family and friends, she got her hair done, got a manicure on her garden-worn hands and selected a dress.
She was ready in the morning, thinking there would be photos taken in the park.
Krause had another idea.
“I thought a few months before that it might be a crazy idea, maybe not even possible, but I’d like it and Joan would like it if we got married at the market. I asked Cat (Majors, president of the Armstrong Farmers Market) and she thought it was a great idea,” he said.
“Joan said, ‘I’m going to miss my market today but at least I can go and pick up my bouquet and show them my dress.’”
When Jong got to the market just before noon to get the bouquet, made by vendors, she was met by a rose-petal-strewn carpet, floral arches, her family and friends, her fellow vendors and community members and shoppers. There was a marriage commissioner at the ready.
“I hadn’t a clue. I was completely surprised. It was all out of my dreams. Everyone was there. I was smiling all the way,” said Jong.
The ceremony took place at the spot where her stall would usually be and she would be on Saturday morning, assisted by Krause, who owns Aquarius Vocational Services, which helps people get back to work after physical rehab.
“I realized we’d pulled it off. I had so much help from so many people and everyone kept the secret so it really was a surprise for Joan,” he said.
“We had our wedding at the market, one of Joan’s favourite places, and we are happy and everyone was happy. It was a special day and we are so grateful to everyone who helped. We’ll always go back to the market on our anniversary if we can.”
The couple was back to the market the next Saturday and will take time for a honeymoon in the fall when the garden needs less attention.
It took a community to bring things together.
“Joan and Kalvin are a charming couple and everyone wanted to do whatever they could to make it a special day for them,” said Cat Majors.
“This is the longest continuously running farmers market in B.C. and a lot of things have happened here but I think this is the most special. It was the same day as our Very Berry Cherry Fiesta so that made everything even more special. The toasts after the wedding were made with our berry cherry punch.
“Our regular busker, Vern Johnson, who usually plays the guitar, learned the wedding march on his violin to play as Joan walked down the carpet. So many of the vendors and other local people were involved, with the decorations, the snacks and making a gift basket for Joan and Kalvin.
“Everyone kept the secret and we were all happy to see our beautiful bride and dapper groom. They walked around the market after holding hands and talking to everyone. It was an honour and a joy to share their special day with them,” said Majors.