Meet your neighbors, grab coffee or lunch downtown, and shop in a low-stress environment Dec. 10, while bypassing the big box stores and online merchandising giants. The Crozet Christmas Market will enliven central Crozet from noon to 4 p.m.
Flannery Buchanan and Chelsea Powers are the organizers, and they’ve put together markets in the past, featuring artists, bakers, gardeners and artisans. After opening Bluebird & Co. in Crozet, the women wanted to stage an event right in town that would allow shoppers to buy one-of-a-kind gifts from quality vendors who don’t have a bricks-and-mortar storefront here. Their solution: park the small vendors in already established businesses to draw attention to the products of both the host and the temporary seller.
More than two dozen vendors—most of them small enterprises and many of them local to Crozet—will display carefully curated items at the Mudhouse, Starr Hill, The Yellow Mug, The Art Box, Julie Ellyn Designs, Bluebird’s Annex and the Crozet Artisans Depot. Start anywhere, and you’ll get a map of all the next stops, along with a list of where each vendor can be found.
To cut down on parking and traffic problems, all the sites will be walkable from each other, with the exception of Starr Hill. It will be worth the short drive: At the brewery, 15 different vendors will set up in the tank room. Bluebird’s Annex (the basement of the building next door to the shop) will have six vendors. Others will have from one to five vendors in addition to their own selected merchandise.
Many of the host businesses have transformed their interiors to welcome shoppers with dazzling Christmas decorations. Starr Hill as well as the Annex will be professionally decorated by local holiday decorating company, Porch Patch, and the cool Bluebird mobile unit parked outside the shop at 5792 Three Notch’d Road will get the Porch Patch artistic makeover as well, so Santa will have a festive backdrop for photos.
You’ll also find plenty of gift items inside at Blue Bird & Co., including a Christmas promotion based on the Icelandic custom of Jolabokaflod, where everyone in the family gets a book on Christmas Eve to pass the long dark hours until they welcome Christmas morning. Give the staff the names and ages of those on your Christmas list and they’ll select a book, wrap it in artwork, and include a special mug and a hot chocolate bomb made by Jaclyn Shaffer of Jaclyn’s cookies. Bluebird & Co. also offers to select a book or other gift, wrap it and deliver it locally for those who order on time.
“We were just blown away by the amount of creative talent here,” Buchanan said. The two women are contacted by small vendors regularly, and they also actively search for unusual local items. “We’re always on the hunt,” she added. Powers said that she wants shoppers to consider long-standing Crozet businesses for gift ideas as well. “I for one would love to get a stocking filled with useful items from Crozet Hardware,” she said. They also encourage supporting Crozet businesses with gift certificates from local restaurants and services.
It’s no secret that buying local is better for the economy, better for the planet, and boycotts the cruel labor practices tolerated offshore. Various economic studies suggest that local businesses return more than chains do. For every $100 spent at your neighborhood shops, $68 stays in the community, according to Amy Hartzler, director of communications for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, a nonprofit that advocates building strong local economies. That’s more than twice the amount chains reinvest. Buchanan pointed out that your support helps fledgling woman-owned cottage industries grow. The other advantage, shopping local is fun, it brings communities together, and it leads to greater communication and collaboration.
Find more information on the Bluebird & Co. website; bluebird crozet.com, and their social media.
St. Brigid Press in Afton has created some letterpress pre-stamped post cards with the message “Joyeux Noël” (“Merry Christmas” in French). The postcards are handset with antique wood type, printed on a foot-treadled 1914 C&P press, and are ready to send once you write your greeting. They come in a pack of 10, all with postage paid. Find out more at stbrigidpress.net.
New and beginning farmers are encouraged to register for a free networking and learning event, the Farm Finance and Conservation Planning Seminar, in Weyers Cave Dec. 16. Register by Dec. 13 at [email protected].
Restoration Crozet offers a brunch with Santa Dec. 17 and a Christmas Eve dinner. Find out more at oldtrailclub.com.
Ivy Roadhouse has closed, and the property is for rent with all its contents, according to Stuart Rifkin, one of the partners and the realtor for the property.
Magnolia Rose held a grand opening November 25 at the former Blue Moon Galleries building on Main Street in downtown Waynesboro. The shop benefits victims of human trafficking by offering items handmade by survivors. The nonprofit is also in need of furnishings for an apartment that will keep survivors safe until they can be on their own. Find out more about the organization on its Facebook page or website. The store will also offer house plants from local nurseries and pop-ups featuring artists and sellers.
Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery offers a holiday market Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with dozens of vendors, food trucks, and photos with Santa. Check the PRN Facebook page for details.
Porch Patch, the ingenious design collaboration of four area mothers, burst on the scene last year with elaborate fall displays on Crozet porches and continued this year, adding some early Christmas greenery deliveries as well as custom decorations for three of the Holiday Market hosts. By the Gazette’s publication time, Christmas orders will have closed, but keep track next year by way of Porch Patch social media.
Defend the Flock is the name of the Agriculture Department’s program to train poultry farmers to prevent spread of disease from the season’s migratory birds to domestic flocks. Type “Defend the Flock” into your browser to find videos, pamphlets, posters and checklists for keeping your chickens, geese and ducks safe.