Six Des Moines Christmas Markets and Festivals kick off the holiday season this weekend
Snow has already started to rain down on the state of Iowa as the holiday season approaches. For many, this harbinger of winter means the start of gift-buying season, and Des Moines has no shortage of options.
Some events such as Adventureland’s North Pole Craft and Vendor Show and the Vintage & Made Fair have already passed this past weekend. Others, like the annual pop-up market day, remain on hiatus as a result of COVID-19.
Yet many other local holiday markets are launching their deals this week. For those looking to find a seasonal local shopping event, here’s a look at some of the holiday shopping opportunities in the area.
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Festival of Trees and Lights
The Festival of Trees & Lights raises funds for Blank Children’s Hospital the weekend after Thanksgiving Day.
The event has dozens of decorated trees that will be on display from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. November 26-27 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. November 28 at the Veterans Memorial Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, 833 Fifth Ave.
Tickets will cost $5 per person on the event website, but children 2 and under will be admitted free. As a COVID-19 precaution, tickets will be for two-hour time slots and masks will be required for attendees over 2 years old.
A pre-opening gala will begin at 6 p.m. on November 23, with dinner, cocktails and live and silent auctions. Tickets will range from $125 to $250. Go online for more details.
Winter Farmer’s Market
Held as a drive-thru due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Des Moines Winter Farmers’ Market will return to its usual mode this year, only outdoors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. November and December 4, with approximately 70 vendors along Court Avenue between Third Street and Fifth Avenue and north and south of Court on Fourth Street.
Local seasonal produce, meat, cheese, eggs, jams and jellies and other food items will be available, including breakfast and lunch items. Warm-up stations, family activities, music and other activities, as well as art vendors, also accompany the event.
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East Village Vacation Walk
The East Village of Des Moines celebrates the season with the return of its East Village Holiday Promenade.
The walk returns on Friday evenings, but as in 2020, will repeat for several weeks instead of being a one-time event. It is scheduled to start from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 19 and run every Friday through Dec. 17.
“A lot of the same things we’ve done in the past are coming back, like tree lighting and Santa Claus,” said Colleen Murphy, director of downtown events at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “But some of the things we did in 2020 were so popular… they’re coming back.”
Horse-drawn carriage rides, scavenger hunts and participation from area retailers and restaurants are all set to return with this year’s holiday market.
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Des Moines also welcomes Christkindlmarket with an in-person event at Principal Park, 1 Line Dr., on the outskirts of downtown Des Moines. The German-inspired Christmas Market has been held virtually for the past year, with online ordering and curbside pickup.
This year’s market features food, vendors and entertainment from 5 to 9 p.m. on December 2, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on December 3 and 4, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on December 5. The event drew more than 50,000 visitors in 2019, according to its organizer, Iowa European Cultural Connection.
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Jingle at the junction
The Valley Junction holiday jubilee in West Des Moines returns four Thursdays beginning in November and ending in mid-December.
Beginning 5-9 p.m. on November 18, Valley Junction visitors can stroll through the historic district along Fifth Street North or Railroad Avenue and find all kinds of holiday happenings, from horse-drawn wagon rides to Christmas carolers. Attendees can also expect to see local stores extending their opening hours to accommodate shoppers.
Valley Junction is hosting the celebration on December 2, 9, and 16 as the event skips a Thanksgiving Day event.
More information can be found at valleyjunction.com.
Surety Hotel Holiday Show
The Surety Hotel is bringing in a hand-picked group of vendors from Des Moines for what the hotel dubs a “Holiday Spectacle” from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 at 206 Sixth Ave.
Vendors announced at the event include Dar Zweena, Gray Lotus, Lator Gater Art, Red Door Press and over a dozen others. More information about the event can be found at dsmpartnership.com.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: These Christmas markets are starting in Des Moines in November 2021