Around F.C., Arts & Entertainment

Festivals, Fairs, Bazaars, Oh My! Holiday Markets & Shows Provide Creative Gifts

In recent years, craft shows and holiday markets have grown in popularity among people looking for gifts to give their families, friends or themselves. Whether it be a festival, fair or bazaar, these shows and markets offer a wide range of items, manufactured or homemade, for anyone’s delight. Of the many around here, some, such as the one in Falls Church, have already come and gone. But not all, 

McLean’s Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival has been juried since 1982 and offers products sold by vendors with expertise in jewelry, woodworking and more. (Photo: Sabrina Anwah)

Last weekend, the City of Falls Church featured its Holiday Gift and Craft Show. Scarlett Williams, the City of Falls Church Special Events Program Supervisor, was in charge of running the City’s Holiday Gift and Craft Show, which began 30 years ago in 1992. The two-day show, which was held December 3 and 4, featured nearly 40 crafters and merchants who sold “unique, handmade items, baked goods and more.” 

Some of the many products sold at this year’s show were handmade pottery, beaded jewelry, crocheted wearables, pressed flower art and more. 

Williams said the goal of the gift and craft show was to “make holiday shopping easy,” since there’s “something for everyone.” She also stated the City’s gift and craft show is unique because a large number of the vendors have participated in it for over 20 years. 

In D.C., the Friends Of The National Arboretum (FONA) is about to host their Winter Festival, which features a holiday market, tree sale and family activities held on Dec. 10 in the U.S. National Arboretum. Executive Director of FONA Craven Rand said this is the second year the Arboretum has hosted a holiday market. 

“To me, this [festival] is not necessarily a competition,” Rand said. “We like to find vendors that have supported the Arboretum in the past and that we’ve worked with to give them an opportunity to reach some visitors over the holiday.” 

The Winter Festival will “hopefully” see about 15 — 20 vendors participating, with different products being offered and sold. Rand said while most items will be focused on plants, mainly plant-centric or gardening products, there will be “plenty” of other vendors selling “craft gifts and children items.” He followed up by stating he hopes this year’s festival will bring people out to view the Arboretum at “a time they might not normally come” as well as offer people “an option for unique gifts and programming.”

This past weekend, McLean hosted its Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival, which has been a juried show since 1982. The arts and craft festival saw 78 vendors selling their products at the event, which include “fine artists, woodworkers, textile artists, food artists, jewelers, multimedia artists and and glass artists.”

Catherine Nesbitt, the special events manager at the McLean Community Center that hosts the festival, said the goal of the festival is to provide a service to our public. She said the McLean Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival has a reputation for being a “higher end” craft show juried carefully by highly qualified artists selling high-end, good quality products.” 

In Alexandria, that city is hosting its second annual Old Town Alexandria Christmas Fair and Holiday Craft Show on Dec. 10. Corina Serbanescu is a part of Royal Events Group, which through its festival division puts together festivals and fairs, such as the Christmas Fair and Holiday Craft Show. 

This year, the holiday fair and craft show will see about 100 to 120 vendors participating in the event, along with a tent where children can write letters to Santa and create Christmas decorations. At prices ranging from $5 to $400, Serbanescu said people “can find whatever they would like” from a wide range of vendors. 

Upscale jewelry “at any type of budget,” home decor, Christmas ornaments and wreaths, candles, clothing and pet accessories, and take-home treats are just some of the many items one can gift themselves or others at the event.

Serbanescu further stated the vendors at the Old Town Alexandria Christmas Fair and Holiday Craft Show are “diverse” due to coming from local areas as well as other states. 

“We’ve been trying to literally help and support the small, local artisan crafters, small businesses, independent consultants to get back on their feet [since 2020],” Serbanescu said.