UNITY — Frigid temperatures Saturday didn’t stop residents from trekking out to Maine TradeHers Market for a CommUnity Bonfire fueled by Christmas trees.

Outside the market, the Christmas trees went up quickly in crackling smoke, creating a fire that cut through the cold.

Inside, vendors set up a variety of offerings for attendees. Brian Erickson, co-owner of Stone Tree Farm and Cidery, brought six of the winery’s products for a wine tasting — everything from a new cabernet to a sour cranberry apple wine.

Stone Tree has partnered with Maine TradeHers in the past, Erickson said, and it has been nice to work with other local businesses.

“That’s been very beneficial to work together with small businesses,” Erickson said.

Kelsey and Riley Tecce, with Winnecook Salsa Co., brought samples of the salsas they sell at the market. They just started the company last summer, and have had good reviews of their blueberry salsa and cranberry salsa.

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The market accepted donations of Christmas trees ahead of the event and, with the assistance of the Unity Fire Department, lit the trees up for a large bonfire Saturday as the sun began to set. Residents seemed excited ahead of the event, said Maine TradeHers Market co-owner Coleen Maguire. Several people had reached out to her about bringing their tree with them to the event to use in the fire.

Maguire said the idea for the event came when she and her business partner, Susan Hunter, noticed a lack of community events in January after the holidays.

“After the holidays, people are tired, but with the weather they’re still looking for something that they can do without maybe all the physical exertion of skiing or hiking,” Maguire said.

The pair founded the market because they wanted to open a store for female farmers and creators to sell their goods.

“We came together, and we’ve been working on some projects for the past few years, and we wanted to have an outlet for local female farmers and growers,” Maguire said.

This is the first time they have hosted the bonfire, but they hope it becomes an annual event, Maguire said.

Zoie Ward, 14, came to sell her candles at the fire, but came early to speak with Maguire and Susan about how to grow her business. The idea for the business came from a passion project she did for school. Ward said she wants to use all natural products in her candles, and this is the first time she has had a chance to sell to the public.

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