Local vendors shine at Riggs Christmas Market 

People+gather+at+the+Riggs+Christmas+Market+on+Tuesday.+The+market+is+open+on+Thursdays+and+Fridays+from+4+to+8+p.m.%2C+and+Saturdays+and+Sundays+from+2+to+7+p.m.

Kaitlyn Devitt

People gather at the Riggs Christmas Market on Tuesday. The market is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m.

By Kaitlyn Devitt, Staff Writer

Since 2019, Urbana’s local brewery Riggs Beer Company has hosted a German style Christmas market in its outdoor beer garden. The event features a variety of local vendors and attractions.

Riggs Christmas Market is open every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. The market is an opportunity for the community to come together and support local businesses while celebrating the holiday season, a perfect example of holiday spirit. 

“It’s nice to come out and see all the small businesses that are in the community, since I don’t get off campus a lot,” Marin Estela, a market attendee, said.

The vendors available each weekend are not always the same, and a list of each business that will be there can be found on the Riggs Beer Company website, providing an outlet for new sightseeings and discoveries. 

“Every booth had something different so it was interesting to see what everyone was selling,” Estela added. 

Delight Flower Farm hosted a booth for the first two weekends, selling Christmas wreaths, fresh evergreen reeds, CBD products and more. 

“It’s really cool to be here supporting local business with a bunch of other local vendors,” Lauren White, an employee at Delight Flower Farm, said.

She added that she liked seeing everyone, despite the weather at the festival while it was still going.

“I think I just like being able to witness everyone you know, getting all bundled up and coming out, even though it’s really cold, and supporting local vendors,” White said. 

The Christmas market is held entirely outside and visitors are recommended to prepare for the weather as there is limited seating open inside of Riggs Beer Company. Live music and caroling is also available at certain times in the market depending on weather conditions.

A popular element of German Christmas markets are the food and drinks that are sold there. The Riggs Christmas Market is keeping that tradition and this year the brewery is working with Smith Burger Company to cater inside the market, as well as having the La Paloma food truck open in the parking lot. 

To celebrate the German tradition, Smith Burger Company is selling bratwursts, crepes, candied roasted nuts and other foods typically found at German markets. 

White commented that the food is her favorite part of the event and said, “I really liked the brat booth, the German hotdogs are delicious.”

Riggs Beer Company is also selling Gluhwein, a hot mulled wine that is custom at German Christmas markets, and hot cocoa along with their assortment of wines, beers and other alcoholic beverages. 

The market features a variety of attractions including a baby goat, alpacas and an assortment of lit up Christmas displays that can be found throughout the venue. 

“Compared to the Chicago Christkindlmarket I wasn’t sure what to expect, but getting to meet an alpaca was definitely a memorable experience,” Estela said. 

Besides the opportunity to meet alpacas, Riggs Christmas market is a chance for vendors in the area to come together and get to know the community. Regan’s Bugs Body Scrubs & More came to the market for the first time ever this year after learning about the event through word of mouth.

“I love meeting all the people and just talking and having a normal conversation,” Aleese Eisenmenger, an employee for Regan’s Bugs Body Scrubs & More, said. “There’s so many different people who have different likes and dislikes, and so far it’s taken off better than I expected it to.”

Besides homemade cosmetic products and Christmas wreaths, Riggs Christmas market also hosts booths that sell glass blown holiday ornaments, jewelry, candles and more. The market will only be open for two more weekends until Christmas.

“Come on out to Riggs to have a beer and do some Christmas shopping,” Eisenmenger said.

 

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