The Holiday Market is moving outdoors this November — making its 50th year a COVID-19-compliant event.
The winter artisans usually gather at the Lane County Events Center, which normally accommodates 300 booths. This year, 117 booths and food vendors will gather in the Park Blocks as it originally began.
“Selling outside in late November or early December is really similar to the weather that we see in April and early May,” said Vanessa Roy, who manages marketing for the Eugene Saturday and Holiday markets. “It’s chilly and it is wet, but it doesn’t stop us: We’re a rain or shine market.”
The return to the original starting place of the Holiday Market comes in its 50th year — a “return to our roots,” according to a news release about going back to the downtown Eugene Park Blocks.
The need for proper spacing for social distancing resulted in a reduction in vendors for the Saturday and Holiday markets. Plus, some of the older vendors chose to opt out for safety reasons..
“We have members that have been selling with us since the ’70s, so they’re elders and they have health concerns,” Roy said.
The Saturday Market will continue each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Nov. 14. The market administration is monitoring COVID-19 cases in Lane County and will announce any closures due to government mandates, according to a news release.
The Holiday Market on the Park Blocks will be open Saturdays only from 10 a.m to 3 p.m. beginning Nov. 21 and running through Dec. 19.
Roy said she hopes that market shoppers will take advantage of pre-planning with the Market’s online resources.
There is an artisan directory and a live map that will show who is vending each weekend. This can help shoppers plan what weekends they should visit to find specific vendors, making for a quicker navigation through the fall chill, Roy said. The information will publish in November before the opening of the market.
“The people that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic are specifically small business owners and artists — and that is our membership,” Roy said. “We hope that when people are deciding on where they’re going to shop this year, they’ll keep their money in Eugene.”
Roy has been researching how to create the same festive spirit at the Holiday Market despite limitations on live performances and on-site food consumption. She said she remains confident that it will be a successful transformation.
“Our members are excited to get out there and sell their things,” Roy said. “And we hope that we see the same thing from our shoppers — our shoppers in very warm socks.”
For more information on the Eugene Saturday and Holiday markets, visit eugenesaturdaymarket.org.
Contact reporter Dana Sparks at email@example.com or 541-338-2243, and follow her on Twitter @danamsparks and Instagram @danasparksphoto. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.