More than one hundred people eagerly lined up outside of the Armory last Saturday ready to shop. Despite the brisk winter weather, there was an excitement in the air as shoppers checked their watches and waited for the doors to open at 1:00 pm and welcome them into the first Holiday Marietta Marketplace.

This special, indoor edition of the Great Marietta Marketplace featured 45 local and regional makers inside the Armory’s recently renovated gymnasium. From crocheted toys and hand-dyed linens to painted signs and maple syrup, makers offered up a variety of unique, handmade items just in time for holiday shopping.

Photo by Tim Glover of the line leading up to the Armory’s main entry

“I just loved bringing my friends to Marietta to shop!” said Patsy Darling. “They found lots of goodies.”

While there was no cost for shoppers to attend the event, the first 300 shoppers through the door received a free shopping bag with special offers and information provided by area businesses and the event’s sponsor, Washington State Community College. Before the clock struck two, all of the bags were on the arms of busy shoppers.

“This is a wonderful event that brings quality artists and artisans from near and far,” said one shopper. “I can find unique items while supporting artists and small businesses.”

Shoppers filled the Armory once the doors opened at 1:00 pm.

This year’s Holiday Marketplace welcomed back returning makers from past events as well as dozens of new vendors from across the states of Ohio and West Virginia. Returning vendors included local artisans like Sasha Symone, Wildroot Flower Co., Perfectly Pink, and Heartmade Candle Col, as well as regional vendors like Four Acre Clothing Co., Poor Sparrow, Champaign Paper, and Stephanie Orr.

“The Holiday Marietta Marketplace was my first step selling outside of West Virginia and it did not disappoint,” said Elizabeth Elswick, owner and maker behind The Hippie’s Daughter based in Saint Albans, WV. “It was a great space, great crowd, great market, and great historic city with more small businesses around!”

In addition to uplifting local and regional makers, the Holiday Marietta Marketplace served as a fundraiser for Marietta Main Street, the nonprofit responsible for revitalization in downtown Marietta.

“The Great Marietta Marketplace has always been a strong driver of foot traffic downtown, plus it supports local and regional makers that we hope will see the Marietta market as a supporter of what they offer,” said Cristie Thomas, Interim Executive Director of Marietta Main Street. “With the Holiday Marietta Marketplace taking place during peak shopping season ahead of Christmas, the additional foot traffic and continual reinforcement that downtown Marietta is the place to be in the MOV is such a gift to our small business community. There really is no other downtown like ours, and seeing the heart of Front Street – the Armory – utilized as a community center is really wonderful!”