ABINGDON, Va. — Shoppers will have more opportunities to find unique gifts while supporting local businesses at the Abingdon Farmers Market this year.
For the first time, the holiday market will be extended to give craft vendors a greater advantage for selling their goods.
The extended hours come at a critical time for many craft businesses that lost valuable time when forced to close in March, according to COVID-19 regulations for nonessential businesses executed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
“It was mid-July before they were allowed to return to the Farmers Market,” said David McLeish, market manager. “Since many indoor events are being canceled during the holidays, craft vendors don’t have many places to sell their merchandise.
“Extending our holiday market just seemed like a good thing to do to help them out this year.
“Our outdoor market provides low-risk shopping since we have good air flow. And we have vinyl curtains that can be lowered in the event of rain,” he said.
“Christmas at the Market” will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays from Nov. 27 to Dec. 20.
“That means we’ll meet each Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the four-week holiday market,” said McLeish.
“I surveyed market vendors, and they were excited about the extension. I have commitments from 15 vendors, and more are expressing an interest.”
Handcrafted goods at the holiday market will include cutting boards and coasters, soaps and lotions, crocheted items, jewelry, baked goods, candles, face masks, hand-painted signs and breads, cookies and cakes.
“Our vendors reside within a 50-mile radius, which is one of the stipulations for becoming a vendor at the farmers market. When you purchase from vendors, you are supporting your local neighbors,” said the market manager.
McLeish hopes the extended hours at the market will attract more people to Abingdon to shop this holiday season.
“Some of our vendors will participate each weekend. There will be a different variety of items each market.”
Vendors are required to wear face masks, and all customers are encouraged to wear masks while shopping at the market.
Vendors prepare for holiday market
Amy Tuell, of Abingdon, hopes the extended hours at the holiday market will give her the boost in sales she has needed. She will participate each weekend of the holiday market, selling her handmade polymer clay jewelry, resin sculpted bowls and 60 different designs of face masks for adults, children and preschoolers.
“I’ve tried selling online, but that’s a flooded market,” said Tuell. “The Farmers Market is a good place for shoppers to find local gifts. These days, I think more people want to buy handmade items that can’t be found anywhere else.”
Brooke Bednar, of Abingdon, has been crafting for years. She will bring her handmade earrings, wreaths and felt flower bouquets to the holiday market.
“I started selling my crafts this summer. I’ve always just made things for gifts and friends,” said Bednair, who named her new business Charged to Love Creations, inspired by 1 Timothy 1:5 in the Bible.
Her hymn wreaths sell out immediately, she said. The wreaths are made from antique hymns from the 1930s and 1940s. “The hymn pages are rolled and made into fluffy wreaths with paper rosettes in the middle.
“My faux leather earrings are unique and one-of-a-kind.”
Ann McConnell, of Abingdon, will bring an assortment of homemade breads and rolls, cookies and fresh apple cake.
“A lot of these are old-fashioned recipes,” said McConnell, who has been baking since she was a young 4-H member.
“There are going to be beautiful things for sale at the holiday market because people affiliated with the Abingdon Farmers Market take pride in what they do,” said McConnell.
Treva Randall, of Abingdon, will exhibit her handcrafted soaps, lotions, bath bombs, shampoo and conditioner bars and soy candles.
“I have a holiday soap called Christmas Bliss and some seasonal fragrances like orange clove,” said Randall, who named her business Bohicket Apothecary after a town in South Carolina where she has family.
Customers can sample her body and hand lotions at the market.
Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at CityDesk@bristolnews.com.