MUSCATINE, Iowa–During the warmer months of the year, artisans join the produce sellers at the Muscatine Area Farmers Market to make one-of-a-kind baked goods, textiles, wooden items, and more available to local market goers. In 2013, Market Manager Jennifer DeFosse recalls: “we were kind of sad for the season to end. We came up with the idea of a holiday market, and it was an immediate success.”
Since its creation in 2013, a Handcrafted Christmas has run every year except 2020, and has brought farmers market craft vendors back for a special holiday shopping experience. This year, a Handcrafted Christmas will take place Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Muscatine Mall, located at 1903 Park Avenue in Muscatine. “For me, it is the official kickoff to the holiday season,” shared DeFosse.
The biggest Handcrafted Christmas to date, this year’s indoor market will have vendors of all types including ones selling honey made in Iowa, custom clothing, crocheted and sewn items, gourmet jerky, fleece blankets, delicious food and coffee gift baskets, and carved items and puzzles, just to name some of the things available. “It’s a huge selection, and it’s stuff you won’t find anywhere else,” emphasized DeFosse. “If you don’t know what to give someone or are looking for a hard to find specialty item, this is the place to find it.”
For the first time this year, a Handcrafted Christmas will work with It Takes a Village Animal Rescue and Resources to provide a fundraiser as well. It Takes a Village will hold a candy sale where they will sell candy by the pound to raise money to provide care for the animals they foster.
To add to a Handcrafted Christmas’ charm, musicians will play live music from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. DeFosse observed, “hearing old-fashioned bluegrass Christmas music and seeing all my vendors really puts me in the holiday spirit.”
Because markets represent a collaborative effort, DeFosse also welcomes the chance to work with the Muscatine Parks and Recreation Department, who put on their Elves Workshop, which provides free crafts and games for children to enjoy from 1 to 3 p.m. the afternoon of Dec 10. “There’s so much going on and there’s such a buzz in the mall,” DeFosse beamed.
An outstanding opportunity for people to find special items for their friends and family at Christmas, DeFosse encourages everyone to come visit a Handcrafted Christmas both to pick up presents and to enjoy time with a kind community of crafters. “It’s a great place to shop, but its a great place to make friends too,” said DeFosse. “Something that sets our vendors apart is how friendly and welcoming they are.”