Urbana’s Holiday Market sells fresh, homemade products, supports community

By Annabeth Carlson

With the first snow flurries of the year in the air and festive decorations appearing in stores and on street lamps, the holiday season has arrived and with it Urbana’s annual Holiday Market.

Urbana’s Holiday Market is a series of weekly markets every Saturday between Nov. 8 and Dec. 20 inside Lincoln Square Mall. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., vendors’ booths and tables line the walkways of the mall with festive handmade goods and local produce. 

Jessica Snyder, the events coordinator for the Urbana Business Association, said that the items sold at the market include produce, baked goods like coffee cakes and cookies, gift items like knit and crocheted hats, scarves and mittens, handmade jewelry, Christmas decorations and artisan soaps and bath products. 

Even though the market has been going on for 12 years, Snyder said there will be much more produce available than past years as well as two blood drives.

According to Snyder, the Urbana Holiday Market is an extension of the Urbana’s Market at the Square, a farmer’s market that takes place every Saturday between the months of May and November.

Natalie Kenny Marquez, marketing coordinator and director of Urbana’s Market at the Square, said that she likes that the market moves indoors.

“People get to experience the same things as the outside farmer’s market but it is climate controlled,” she said.

Marquez added that many of the outdoor vendors continue to sell their products indoors at the Holiday Market.

Snyder said that the markets contribute to the C-U area because residents are really devoted to supporting local businesses.

One vendor that Snyder said she enjoys at the markets is the Cousins Dog Biscuit Company, because her dog loves their treats.

Diane Cain-Rowe is the owner of the Cousins Dog Biscuit Company. Rowe, who has been a vendor at both the Market at the Square and the Holiday Market for seven years, said that the markets are more than just a business opportunity. She said her favorite part is talking to the customers and other vendors.

“You get to know people and it’s fun to see them on a weekly basis,” she said.

Rowe also said that she thinks of the other vendors as family.

“Even though we are not blood relatives, we are a family,” she said. “You get to know their family members, they tell you stories.”

Marquez said that people should come to the markets because it is important to meet the people who grow and make their food.

“You don’t get to have a relationship like that at the grocery store,” she said.

Snyder said that specifically students should come check out the Holiday Market because they can find holiday presents for family members and if they don’t live in the dorms, they can get fresh produce and baked goods.

“It’s a good market for anyone, not just a market for regular residents of C-U,” Snyder said.

Annabeth can be reached at [email protected]