Erica Cai

Customers walk through the sidewalk adjacent to Seventh Street. The Holiday Market opened yesterday and features local hand-crafted goods.

Holly jolly holiday market

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The scent of frying batter and sugar from a stall selling donuts hangs in the air. Crowds of people bundled in winter scarves and puffy coats stroll through. Muted chattering floats around the shops, masked by a baritone rendition of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” which filters through the speakers tucked away in the upper corners of tents.

With this Friday marking the opening day of Washington D.C.’s annual Holiday Market, which closes right before Christmas, many tourists and locals alike traveled to the market to get a head start on holiday shopping. Maryland resident Maile Kahara visits the Holiday Market around two to three times a year and loves not only its close proximity to museums and workplaces but also its local focus.

“At the holidays, I travel back to my family and go visit my friends, and this is a very good place to get very local products,” Kahara said as she stood outside a booth selling handmade ornaments and wood figurines. “You have a lot of local artists who will come and display their artwork, their crafts, and it’s a very good place to see all that in one place.”

Housed in white canvas tents with red flags on top, the shops sell a variety of wares: from knits, soap, jewelry and glass ornaments to white T-shirts with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s face on them. Lit by bright lights hanging inside the tents, glass wares, ceramics and jewelry glitter at passers-by. Fruity and floral scents drift out from a shop selling soap.

One store owner, dressed in a purple wool headband and matching scarf, points out a slender silver necklace embellished with a single dangling pendant as she smiles and explains the uniqueness of her brand, which uses detonated bomb fragments from Laos to create jewelry, to a customer.

Cinnamon aromas flow from the churro stand that marks the end of the rows of tents. A little before this stand but still near the intersection of Ninth Street and F Street hangs an identical banner to the one that greets shoppers at the other end of the market. On the side visible to those leaving the path of kiosks, the banner wishes Holiday Market customers farewell. “Thank you for Shopping,” it reads.

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