Stand by for a Full Calendar of Christmas Art Fairs, Sales and Bazaars!

Winterberries, cedars, and a tamarack about to lose its needles
Winterberries, cedars, and a tamarack about to lose its needles


I can’t believe how long the fall colors are hanging on in Traverse City this year. This has got to be a month later than usual, and although some of the maples are losing their leaves there are still so many beautiful vistas to be enjoyed – especially out on the Old Mission peninsula.

On Sunday, I took advantage of the mild weather to take a stroll at the Pyatt Lake Natural Area near Bowers Harbor, a lovely place at almost any time of the year, but especially beautiful in the fall and the winter. At the edge of a wide boggy meadow I can across a splendid thicket of winterberry – a deciduous holly that produces clumps of bright red fruit in the fall. It was such a festive sight that I couldn’t help taking a photo.

Speaking of festive things, I got a lot of responses from people about last week’s post, where I mentioned the superb Holiday Art Fair at the Dennos Museum Center, and that reminded me of all the other fairs and bazaars coming up.

I know it’s hypocritical of me, but although I ‘m always ranting about the way those big department stores start putting up their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier each year, I never seem to have the same problem with the multitude of holiday-themed arts & crafts bazaars that are on tap throughout the Traverse City area during what they now insist on calling The Holiday Season..

The fact is, I love these things – whether they’re done by schools, churches, arts groups, fraternal organizations. Partly it’s because they genuinely showcase the work of local artists and artisans (and we’ve got a HUGE number of those) and because they usually are held to benefit some good cause, but also because I’m charmed by their ever-present atmosphere of  small-town friendliness and innocence.

Oh, and the cookies. There are almost always cookies. And I’m a sucker for cookies.

So it doesn’t really bother me that some of them start even before Halloween (the first one, up at Traverse City East Junior High, was held last week). My only complaint is that I wish we could have them all in one place for an enormous Christmas Craft Fair that could last for several days, with lights and music and other entertainment going on – something with an Old World medieval fair feel to it, perhaps. I think it would be awesome!

Be that as it may, here’s a listing of the various fairs and bazaars and sales that I know about. If you happen to be in Traverse City when one or two of them are scheduled, stop by and buy something. Even if it’s just a plate of cookies. It’s fun!

Nov. 5: 29th Annual Bellaire Holiday Gift Fair 10am – 3pm
A great little small-town fair held at Bellaire’s high school — just down the hill if you happen to be staying at Shanty Creek resorts!

Nov 5:  Dickens Christmas Arts & Crafts Bazaar   9am-3pm

This popular holiday craft fair at First Congregational Church features handicrafts from 60 area artists as well as baked goods, preserves, gourmet delicacies, confections, handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. Come and enjoy the festive and friendly atmosphere and get an early start on your Christmas shopping. Vendor raffle. 6105 Center Rd, Traverse City. (231) 947-6698

Nov 5:  24th Annual Immaculate Conception Craft Show  8:30am-3:30pm

More than 70 exhibitors will participate in this show at the parish Centennial Hall and the nearby middle school of Immaculate Conception. There also will be a bake sale, luncheon, and raffle. 720 2nd St., Traverse City.  (231) 946-4211

Browsing through Blown-Glass Ornaments at a Christmas Craft Show
Browsing through Blown-Glass Ornaments at a Christmas Craft Show

Nov 12:  4th Annual Craft Fair  9am-3pm

Over 100 exhibitors will be on hand for this juried show at Traverse City Christian Middle/High School located at 753 Emerson Rd. Crafts, silent auction, lunch, bake sale & door prizes.(231) 929-1747

Nov 18, 19:       ArtCenter Traverse City’s annual Holiday Art & Craft Show

The Artcenter Traverse City Winter Show will be held Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn West Bay. This is an all new  juried and invitational show, with emphasis on quality works in photography, fiber, glass, painting, jewelry and much more. (231) 947-3700

Nov 17-20:  Festival of Trees by Zonta of TC

This annual festival at the Hagerty Center  features a charming display of professionally decorated trees and wreaths. Each year, it’s completely new. Open Thursday from 4-8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday  from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  There’s a silent auction, and a gingerbread house competition, too. Admission $5, students $3, preschool age free.

Nov 19:  Christmas Craft Show-Alden  9am-4pm

The Torch Area Artisans Guild will hold its annual craft show in the Helena Township Community Center at 8751 Helena Rd. in Alden.  A wide variety of local crafters offer their wares for sale to the public, and refreshments are also available. 231-331-6583

Nov 18:  Suttons Bay Holiday Evening Stroll   5-9pm

A fun and festive way to start your holiday shopping in the cute-as-a-bug village of Suttons Bay. Many shops will be serving wine & hors d’oeuvres.

Nov 25:  Leland PJ Party: Where the Holidays Begin     8am-10am

A fun event in the Leelanau Peninsula port of Leland, where shoppers get the best deals if they come in their pajamas!

Nov 25: Glen Arbor PJ Party Sale   5-7a.m.

I don’t know which of these two towns stole the idea from the other (actually, I DO know, but I’m not telling) but Glen Arbor has a PJ Party, too – and this one is in the wee hours of the morning. Honestly, if you get up this early, you deserve a discount! In the evening there’s a tree-lighting and carols at the township hall, and a preview of the next days” Holiday Marketplace, which is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 231-334-3238

Nov 26:  Empire Artisan Marketplace  12pm-5pm

This annual show is held in the Empire Township Hall.For more information, contact Andrea Henry at 231-228-7800.

Dec  3:  Merry Marketplace-Leland   10am-4pm

Christmas arts and crafts show featuring local artisans with holiday gift packages, fresh and dried holiday wreaths, jewelry, specialty foods, pottery, ornaments, cards and hand knit items at the Old Art Building in the Village of Leland. 231-256-2131.

Dec. 2: Santa’s Arrival & Holiday Open House

This little throwback to the good old days starts at 5 p.m. with music and caroling (with the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir) at the corner of Cass & Front, followed by the 6 p.m. arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. From then on, there’s shopping, with sales, specials and prizes at participating stores, plus horse & carriage rides, live entertainment and lots of other fun.

Dec. 8: Ladies’ Night

Extended store hours for the ladies to shop in downtown Traverse City. Participating stores offer food and refreshments from 5 to 9 pm. And hey, you can enter a drawing to win prizes.

Dec. 15: Men’s Night

No need to panic! An evening of shopping has been designated just for the Men in Downtown Traverse City. Participating stores will offer sales, specials, refreshments and food from 5 to 9 pm.


About mikelovestc

These days, I’m the media relations guy for the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, but before that I spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, a job that frequently took me out into the most remote backroads, forests, beaches and islands of the beautiful Grand Traverse Region. My strategy was pretty simple — just drive, paddle, ski or walk until you’re certain you’re lost, and then find somebody to talk to. It was a great job! I never intended to live in Traverse City. I grew up in Grand Rapids, spent four years in the Coast Guard in places like Miami Beach, Monterey and San Francisco, and when I finally graduated from college I took a summer job at the Miami Herald. To my surprise, I discovered I didn’t like the tropics nearly as much as I thought I would — and when the Record-Eagle offered me a job I took it, figuring I’d put in a year or two and head off to someplace like Seattle or Portland. What I discovered very quickly is that this place gets to you in a variety of unexpected ways. The beaches here are as lovely as anyplace else I’ve ever been, the weather is mild all year round — warm enough for swimming in September and cold enough for skiing in December — and just about the time you’re getting tired of one season you get another one every bit as pleasant. The people are laid-back and friendly, the music and arts scene is awesome, and the place still hasn’t gotten so sophisticated that a guy like me feels out of place.
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2 Responses to Stand by for a Full Calendar of Christmas Art Fairs, Sales and Bazaars!

  1. Jenn says:

    Thank you for sharing! Can you add me to your blog posts? I don’t see a way to add you to Google Reader…

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