Out and about on WRAL.com

– Narnia is coming to Saxapahaw.

Not really, but that’s how the organizers describe the Saxaphaw Holiday Market at the Hall River Ballroom which is slated for December 4th.

“It’s a very festive market… kind of old Europe. We have garlands everywhere and trees everywhere,” said Heather LaGarde, co-owner and founder of the Haw River Ballroom. “Very alternative music lists will be played and all kinds of holiday music celebrations you can imagine.”

For this year’s event, there will be over 60 artists and vendors.

“We have a lot of pottery, crochet products and chocolate,” said Malik Walker, market manager.

But, it’s not just about shopping, the holiday market will also have local musicians performing and food available.

“We have a full range of music coming up. We have people playing piano and people singing from different bands. [We’re] super excited to have them all in space, ”Walker said.

The annual holiday market is a great opportunity to support local businesses, as supply chain issues are already predicting product shortages for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

While there will be vendors at the event from Raleigh to Greensboro, event organizers said the majority of vendors live within 10 miles of Saxapahaw.

“This is really why we are doing it, because we want to showcase all the beautiful artisans here and help local families have a place to sell their beautiful works of art,” said LaGarde.

Organizers of the event said that at the heart of the holiday market is community spirit.

“Behind the scenes, salespeople become friends [and] everyone gets to know their neighbors… it usually turns out to be a great dance party at the end, ”said LaGarde.

Walker, who spent several months preparing for the holiday market, even has experience as a salesperson. Walker said when he was in high school his mother rented him a booth to sell his crochet work.

“I think I was doing things on the fly… I was running out of stuff, so I was just sitting there doing some extra pieces,” he said. “Everyone is doing really well and people are coming back year after year.”

Now he’s using that experience – and his connections with the community since his rise to Alamance County – to help organize this year’s vacation market.

“The person who sells [at the holiday market] can tell stories, and they can show you what they’re doing. It can really be a real, direct connection to who made the thing you’re going to end up taking home, ”Walker said.

Pop-up holiday market

“You know the story, and you know the person you’re helping, and they know who you are and where their beautiful thing is going, so it’s very personalized that way,” he added.

In years past, the event has been packed from wall to wall, but after a year of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, event planners are making sure additional measures are in place to ensure the safety of sellers and buyers. Everyone will need to wear a mask, and the holiday market staff will keep an eye on the number of people on site to make sure it isn’t crowded.

But for those who are ready for a more normal looking holiday season, the market is a great way to start the season.

“We all see the different ages coming up each year, and I think that makes people really feel in the holiday spirit,” Walker said.

Event planners add that if you’re heading to the holiday market, it’s also a great time to explore the surrounding businesses and the Saxapahaw community.

If you need a little caffeine boost during your holiday shopping, stop by Cup 22, which is also located in the Hall River Ballroom. You can sip gourmet coffees and teas and munch on homemade baked goods while overlooking the River Haw on the cafe patio.

“That sense of community, to me, is all Saxapahaw is, and the other companies here do all vacation things too,” said LaGarde.

Those hiking Saxapahaw can also stop by several other local businesses unique to the area.

Left Bank Butcher, located at 1729 Saxapahaw Bethlehem Church Road, is the Triangle’s only whole animal butcher and deli, according to its website. Orders are accepted between 5 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Tuesday for the coming week.

The butcher’s shop is also open by appointment and withdrawal from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

On the butcher’s website, some of the options include brisket burgers, Mexican chorizo, and fall sausage – which include fermented apples and butternut squash, rosemary, honey, and chili flakes. .

Deli lovers can order molasses smoked bacon, Cajun tasso ham, bacon and onion jam, and chili cheese to give their planks a boost.

There is also the Saxapahaw General Store, which describes itself as “your local five star gas station”. The store serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and sells local produce, health and beauty products, craft beer and wine.

“There’s a whole bunch of things people can do while they’re here,” LaGarde said. “It can be a very fun and complete day for families to have dinner, lunch, hike the river, shop and spend time together.”

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