“Small businesses and artists and craftspeople really need a venue to be able to show and sell their work,” says Michael Berman, who, for a dozen years, has offered such a venue on a seasonal basis. The Downtown Holiday Market, operated by Run by Berman’s Diverse Markets Management in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, presents over 150 artisans tented over two city blocks in front of the National Portrait Gallery.
The market offers a vast, eclectic and international assortment of gifts and souvenirs, collectibles and wearables — from prints and photographs, to pottery and glassware, to custom jewelry and accessories. “There are things that are unique to find here — you’ll never see them in any other location,” says Berman. “Some of these vendors only show up for this event.” Several merchants participate for a limited time on a rotating schedule posted online. It’s devised to maximize the small allotted street space.
“If you see [something you like], you’ll want to get it because they might not be back,” says Berman. “On the other hand, every time you come there’s something fresh and new to see and shop for. So it begs for repeat attendance.”
Each day also brings free staged concerts by local musicians, and there are a few options for food and drink — although here even the German-style mulled wine known as gluhwein is non-alcoholic. Laughs Berman, “No one’s going to get sauced on gluhwein and stumble into the street.”
The Downtown Holiday Market, on F Street between 7th and 9th Streets NW, continues daily to Dec. 23. It’s open from noon to 8 p.m. Visit downtownholidaymarket.com.
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