As the fall season transitions to winter, holiday markets will be popping up all over North Carolina to provide cozy, traditional food and fun for the whole family.
For instance, the Scandinavian Christmas Fair (known as Julmarknad in Swedish) is returning to Raleigh on December 3rd. The festival’s website describes the event as “an authentic celebration of the traditions of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland” and entering its 26th year. Several local Scandinavian organizations will be represented at the fair, including Vasa, a Swedish-American organization and one of the event’s sponsors.
The celebration will be full of activities for everyone to enjoy. Visit the artisans and vendors selling their handmade crafts and gifts, like knives, quilts, crystal pieces, jewelry, homemade bread, and Christmas decorations. Watch and listen to the traditional folk dances and Scandinavian music performed live on stage or the “fashion show” displaying costumes and garbs from European countries. While you’re there, sample the vast array of food available from Swedish meatballs to glögg (spiced wine) and salt candy.
If you’re in the Charlotte area, then you have to check out the annual Southern Christmas Show. Entering its 55th year, the celebration has more than 400 merchants selling gifts for all ages and a plethora of fun activities, which include sampling local wine, a visit with Santa, music, and much more. General admission will be from November 10th to November 20th, and buying tickets online will give you a $2 discount until November 9th.
Further west, the Randolph-Asheboro YMCA Holiday Craft Fair is gearing up. Occurring on the 2nd Saturday of November each year (November 12th this year), the fair has over 80 vendor tables to visit, all offering holiday gifts perfect for the winter season. The fair is joined by a litany of food trucks providing refreshments, including Tumbleweed Coffee Cafe, Big D’s Mini Donuts, and Mr Kofta Mediterranean Food, among others. Guests can also enjoy Cookies with Santa from 11 AM to 1 PM and can even get a picture with Saint Nick himself for $10. The money raised from the Cookies with Santa event will go to Christmas boxes for military troops. At the top of each hour, the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas will be read aloud.
Hosted at the Whippoorwill Academy and Village in Ferguson, the Scottish Evening Christmas Market invites you to enjoy all it has to offer on December 11th from live music and ornament crafting for children to a visit with Santa. Hot Scottish tea and scones will be available in the Old Ferguson Home, and guests can shop for gifts at Matt’s Country Store. Tickets are only $5, and vendors will be present at the event.
Vale has its own celebration that wine lovers will especially enjoy. The Christmas Craft Show will take place December 4th, and the event offers food to get into the holiday spirit, provided by a fleet of food trucks, in addition to desserts from vendors like Anna’s Sweet Treats. Held at the Woodhill Winery, guests over 21 years old can enjoy complimentary samples with chilled wine and other beverages available for purchase. Some of the treats offered include wine slushies as well as a hot cup of Apple Spice and Muscadine Spice. The event will also offer discounts for buying wine in bulk. Customers can get 3 or more bottles for 10 percent off, 6 or more for 15 percent off, or a dozen or more bottles for a 20 percent discounted price.
All across the state, townships and cities alike have their own unique celebrations, personally adding their own local flair and guaranteeing you never celebrate the holidays the same way each time. That alone is worth a visit to each celebration.