Adventuring Through Holiday Markets

Story by Jackie Boeheim

A sure cure for Grinch shopping syndrome is to visit one of the holiday markets in our communities, where local artists, craftsmen, and artisans come together to share their handmade wares. From edibles to home décor to wearables, you’ll find all manner of gifting options—and the shopping chore will transition into a true labor of love. 

While there are many markets to visit in our area, here are three that should not be missed—and each is free to attend. Grab your best walking shoes and join the shopping fun.

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baked by billy sweet

baked by billy sweet

baked by billy sweet

Holly Springs Winter Farmers Market

If you are on the hunt for succulent food items this season, then you don’t want to miss the Holly Springs Winter Farmers Market. The market meets every other Saturday in November and December, and the location alternates between the Holly Springs Cultural Arts Center and the East Center Street Parking Lot.

This event has all that is needed to plan a locally focused and all-natural menu. Everything at the market is grown, raised, and produced in our state. “This is a
producer and grower market, committed to providing locally grown and artisanal fresh food,” says Jessica Stygles, market coordinator.

Shoppers will find eggs from cage-free chickens and ducks, greenhouse-produced microgreens, and pasture-raised meats. Bakers will have holiday-themed cookies, cakes, pies, and more.

The foodie in your life will adore the gift items available for purchase. Savory breads and homemade jams will pair nicely, while custom seasonings, gourmet pastas, and sauces make terrific gift baskets.

The market will run from 9:30 to noon on November 4th and December 2nd at the East Center Street Parking Lot, and on November 18th and December 16th at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.

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Downtown Cary Food & Flea

The Downtown Cary Food & Flea is a once-a-month market that meets in Ashworth Village on the second Sunday of the month and features a variety of vendors. On December 10th from noon to 4:pm the monthly market will transform into Santa’s workshop, where you will find stained glass, woodworking gifts, hand-stitched pillows, and more.

“We make sure to include a huge variety of vendors so that there is no competition,” explains Leslie Huffman, director of the Food & Flea. “Each vendor is unique in what they do, how they do it, and why they do what
they do.”

One example is Power Originals, from Apex, which creates rare wind chimes out of everyday findings. By using leaves, feathers, and wood from parks around the area, they are able to make truly authentic North Carolina items. These wind chimes are just one of the many exceptional pieces of art that will be at the Food & Flea Holiday Market.

Across the year, Food & Flea showcases a different food truck each month and offers live music from local musicians. The food truck and music for the Holiday Market had not been announced at press time, but visitors will have the opportunity to taste chestnuts that are roasting over an open flame. These chestnuts are grown right here in North Carolina and are free for guests to sample.

The event is free to everyone, and yes, that even includes your four-legged pets (and there will be pet items to purchase there as well). Santa will make an appearance and will be photo-ready, so bring your cameras.



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The Apex Holiday Market will debut this year on December 16th at the Halle Cultural Arts Center. It’s scheduled to run from 9am to 1pm on that day, and Santa will be present to greet guests and hand out candy canes. 

Stephanie Godwin, event director and owner of Perfect Match Candles, is excited to bring the community together for this special event. “Most of the vendors are local to Apex or the surrounding area,” Godwin explains, and all of the products are handmade, giving them a singular charm to set them apart.

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While there will be beautiful pottery and candles, among other crafts, one of the most unique offerings will come from Eris Discordia of Modique Couture, a maker who creates knitted shawls and scarves by using a manually operated vintage machine. “I met Eris at a pop-up market earlier this year and fell in love with her work. Knitting machines are truly a lost art these days,” Godwin explains.

Gift baskets will be available to win for those who want to participate in a raffle. A percentage of all raffle ticket sales will be donated to the White Oak Foundation, an organization based in Apex that works to address hunger, promote home ownership, and help individuals establish economic self-reliance in Wake
and surrounding counties.