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{Shop Local} Artful Shop-portunities

Can you believe it’s November already? A quick check of upcoming calendar events confirms that arts & craft market high season rapidly approaches here in the Triangle. Many favorite craft markets are back for the holiday season, as well as a couple of new events this year. I’ve compiled currently available information and will make updates as new information becomes available (so bookmark this post to check back for those updates).

Ready to get your shop on? Good, because it starts this weekend!

Downtown Designers

First Stop – Your Local Farmers Market

If you look closely sprinkled among the produce vendors at your local farmers market you will find a craft artisan or two selling hand-made items. Many of the area farmers markets host special one-day craft fairs this month and next, during regular market hours (helping shoppers knock out several tasks in one fell swoop). This Saturday (Nov 2) is the annual Fall Craft Fair at Western Wake Farmers Market in Cary. South Durham Farmers Market plans to hold its first Holiday Craft Market on Dec 7. Later in December (Dec 14) Chapel Hill Farmers Market hosts their Winter Craft Market. Every week in November you’ll find the Durham Craft Market across the street from Durham Farmers Market and the Art Market at Vega Metals around the corner on Hunt Street (where the food trucks hang). Next visit to your local farmers market, plan to spend a little extra time browsing those non-food vendors. You might find something just perfect.

Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour – Nov. 2 & 3, 9 & 10

Now in its 19th year, the annual Orange County Artists Guild Open Tour Studio begins this weekend, inviting the public into artist studios all around Orange County.  With more than 70 participating artists, it would be quite a challenge to fit them all in the one weekend – thank goodness there are two weekends! Download and review the tour brochure to plot your artsy course around Hillsborough, Chapel Hill & Carrboro.

Pop Up Market at Sola Coffee Cafe – Nov 2 (10 am – 2 pm)

Here’s a new local shop-portunity from one of North Raleigh’s favorite cafes, as Sola Coffee Cafe hosts ten vendors this Saturday at a special Pop Up Market. Look for holiday decor and antiques from Twelve Forks Junction, art and note cards from Elena Caron, vintage clothing and original designs from Tyger Alexis, handmade jewelry from The Culture of Design, and others. I can’t think of a more pleasant way to start a weekend than with a delicious cup of coffee and some hot mini donuts while shopping this special event at Sola. Make sure you fit it in your Saturday agenda.

Pittsboro First Sunday – Nov 3 & Dec 1

The first Sunday of each month (from noon – 4 pm), Historic Downtown Pittsboro turns into a mini festival of fun, music, kid’s activities, food, local shopping and arts, where vendors line the street offering their hand crafts. Make sure you include a visit to Liquidambar Gallery for some lovely pieces from the Artists of Redbud, including pottery, photography, baskets, paintings and wood work pieces. The Artists of Redbud show opens Nov 3 and continues through Dec 29.

Mordecai Market – Nov 9 & Dec 7

Join the Mordecai Market and neighbor, Raleigh City Farm, for some crafty shopping deals this holiday season. Supported by local businesses and artists like ThreadStock Silk Screening, Ann Marie Print Art and Anson Howard Salon, the Mordecai Market takes place in the Person Street area, near the corner of N Blount and Franklin Street (from 10 am – 2 pm). And since you’re in the neighborhood, make sure you stop in newly opened Yellow Dog Bread Company and the new Wine Authorities location (when they open later in November).

The Handmade Market – Nov 9, 11 am – 5 pm

This is one of my favorite craft fairs.  I never walk away empty-handed.  Held indoors at Cobblestone Hall in City Market, bad weather is never an issue.  I suggest arriving a little earlier than the 11 am opening and treat yourself to breakfast at Big Ed’s or a beverage at Benelux Cafe, both located within City Market. Admission to the event is free but donations can be made at the door to benefit a local charity (or pay a $5 early entry fee to gain access at 10 am).  Your donation will enter you into a raffle for a gift basket valued at $100.  Check the Handmade Market’s website for this fall’s participants and start checking off your gift list.

Lochmere Arts & Crafts Show – Nov 9, 9 am – 3 pm

Ever been to the Lochmere Pavilion Shops at the intersection of Kildaire Farms Road and Lochmere Drive in Cary? You might want to stop by on this date to see craft items produced by the neighbors and friends of Lochmere. Art works featured include pottery, painted rocks, stained glass, jewelry, basketry, limestone sculpture, photography, handmade children’s clothing, tote bags, knit and crochet items. Should the weather be a bit rainy on the scheduled Saturday, the event will be rescheduled for Sunday, Nov. 10.

Duke Gardens Craft Sale – Nov 16, 10 am – 2:30 pm

Have an avid gardener on your gift list? The nature-themed, garden-focused decorations and gifts created by Duke Gardens Garden Guild may make a perfect gift for that person. Proceeds support the lovely Duke Gardens.  If the weather allows, consider packing a picnic lunch to enjoy a fall picnic while at the gardens.

Pop-Up Sunday Market – Nov. 17, Noon – 5 pm

The Pop-Up Sunday Market kicked off it’s inaugural year this Spring and the last market for this year will be Nov 17 in the parking lot by Ornamentea on West Street in Raleigh. Check the Pop-Up Sunday website for vendor updates as the event date nears.

Durham Art Walk Holiday Market – Nov. 23 & 24

The two-day semi-annual art walk’s holiday edition really cranks up the season in Durham.  Staged in various venues around downtown, shoppers can stroll from site to site (or catch a free ride on the Bull City Connector) to shop, catch live music performances, and dine in any number of world-class restaurants.  Check the Art Walk website to plan your visit.

Rock & Shop Market RETURNS! – Nov 30, 11 am – 5 pm

Returning from hiatus the Rock & Shop Market makes holiday shopping fun as it returns to the Durham Armory, along side DJs, bands and food trucks! The event features 75+ emerging artisan entrepreneurs and makers in the Southeast. Admission is $5 at the door.

Brand Fandango XI at Design Box – Dec. 6, First Friday opening night 6 pm – 10 pm

In December, Raleigh’s DesignBox hosts its twelfth Brand Fandango, a showcase for local arts, crafts and brands.  Find details regarding this year’s vendors at the Design Box website, then plan your December First Friday holiday shopping activities accordingly.

ELF Fair at The ArtsCenter – Dec. 7, 11 am – 4 pm

Once again, ELF Fair returns to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. More than 30 local artists will be present, selling jewelry, pottery, clothing, accessories, candles, toys and lots of unique items for all ages. Plus, a kids’ zone with hands-on art projects to keep the little ones entertained.

21st Annual Chatham Studio Tour – Dec 7 & 8, 14 & 15

One of the oldest such tours in the state, Chatham County artists open their studios to the public the first two weekends of December. A map for the self-guided tour of more than forty artist studios is available at the Chatham Artists Guild website, along with information about each artist’s work. Peruse the website thoroughly, then plot your artsy course through the Chatham County countryside.

dtownMARKET Holiday Style – Dec. 7, Noon – 5 pm

dtownMARKET will host a local pre-holiday market with Motorco Music Hall and Fullsteam Brewery, AND this year the Durham Craft Market is joining the party over at the Trotter building. With over 50 local NC artists and designers, live music and food trucks, you’ll be sure to have a good time and find some great gifts.

Saxapahaw Holiday Market – Dec 7, 9 am – 8 pm & Dec 8, 12 pm – 5 pm

Described as a “holiday market of old”, a visit to peruse locally produced and handcrafted wares at the two day market might be in order this weekend. Included in the (free) price of admission are free performances by local musicians. Naturally there’s great food nearby too (maybe an Eggnog Latte from Cup 22 Coffeehouse to get started). The Saxapahaw Mercantile will be running a continual Holiday Gift Market at their location next to the post office too.

Holiday Arts & Crafts Bazaar in Holly Springs – Dec. 8, Noon – 5 pm

A new market joins the arts & crafts season this year, thanks to the Holly Springs Arts Council and the historic Mims Manor, where the event is set. While the final details on vendors are yet to be announced, the call for artists included spots for 30 vendors. There will be a suggested donation of $5 at the door, to help raise funds for Mims Manor restoration efforts.

Person Street Holiday Art Market – Dec. 14, 10 am – 5 pm

The Person Street Holiday Art Market, organized by Anvil Studio, will be a fun day of holiday shopping, music, food trucks and more. The vendor selection at the inaugural market last year was quite diverse (and I love the vintage calendar tea towel I bought from Hello Tenfold). See the market’s Facebook page for details about this year’s artists then get on down to Person Street for a bit of shopping.

RESCHEDULED Boylan Heights ArtWalk – Dec. 15, 12 pm – 5 pm

This popular event (in its 21st year) held in downtown Raleigh’s Boylan Heights allows us to stroll a historic neighborhood and shop more than 100 artists & craft persons, displaying their wares on porches, in homes & studios. Admission is free to this fun and unique event.


That’s more than enough craftiness to carry us through the year, don’t ya think?  I hope you find yourself at just one of these events, and that you find the perfect hand-crafted treasure from your community.

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