By Mila Hill
Jewelry, chocolate, and holiday clothing! The 17th annual Downtown Holiday Market opened on Nov. 19, where over 70 local businesses and restaurants sell holiday themed products for D.C. families and friends.
The market is run by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District and Diverse Markets Management. Diverse Markets also runs the farmers’ market and flea market at Eastern Market in Southeast D.C.
The aisles are decorated with Christmas tree lights for ambience and equipped with outdoor heaters for warmth. Each store has decorated their own booth to their liking, so each one has its own distinct personality.
This year’s market includes daily live performances by local musicians performing original music and new interpretations of other songs, including holiday classics. Electronic speakers amplify the performances throughout the shops so that the musicians can be heard as shoppers walk around.
In addition to being a D.C. holiday staple for shoppers, the market is a great opportunity for vendors. Most have other storefronts, but the holiday market is an opportunity to reach a new crowd.
Shumba Masani creates “Canimals”, animal figurines made from recycled tin cans. Masani, 54, has sold his art at Eastern Market for over 15 years and found the Holiday Market through his business there.
“It’s a no brainer to come out here,” Masani said. “I’ve been coming out here for about ten years now and I love it out here.”
Pyramid Atlantic Art Center is an art studio, gallery, and learning space in Maryland and uses the market to sell their artists’ work. Their artists’ work ranges from handmade sponge stamps to art prints to t-shirts.
“This is the first year that Pyramid Atlantic Art Center is at the F Street Market,” Tantara Person, a visual arts teacher and event specialist for the Center, said. “At the core, like most non-profits, we’re education-based. It’s an amazing facility.”
This year’s festivities sit on 8th and F Streets NW, next to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and diagonally across from the home of the Washington Wizards and Capitals. It is open daily from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Dec. 23, with the exception of Monday, Dec. 6.
A full list of performing musicians and vendors at the festival are available online at the Downtown Holiday Market website.
Copy edited by Jasper Smith