Giving

Surprise Christmas Market returns successful

Attendance, food bank donations up after year off

Posted 12/2/21

The annual Surprise Christmas Market returned last Saturday to start the holiday season and was a great success, exceeding the previous year’s numbers and supporting new small businesses.

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Giving

Surprise Christmas Market returns successful

Attendance, food bank donations up after year off

Posted

The annual Surprise Christmas Market returned last Saturday to start the holiday season and was a great success, exceeding the previous year’s numbers and supporting new small businesses.

Last Saturday, Artisan Treasures held its annual Christmas Market for the first time since 2019. Last year’s event was canceled because of the covid pandemic. The event hosted over 140 vendors, food trucks, a food drive to support Valley View Community Food Bank and had more than 4,000 people in attendance.

Rachel Darrah, owner of Artisan Treasures, said despite a dip in vendors because of business failures during the pandemic, there was a large increase in attendance making this year their largest Christmas Market so far.

Tickets were $3 per person, or attendees could bring three non-perishable food items and get in for free.

Artisan Treasures sold out tickets and was able to raise about 7,000 pounds of canned goods for its food drive.

A dip in vendors from past years allowed for a lot of new vendors for this year’s event, including some business that started during the pandemic.

Kevin Rhodes, founder of Rhodes Soapery, was one vendor who began his business during the beginning of the pandemic. Rhodes said because the pandemic put artisan and farmers’ markets on pause, it gave him the opportunity to learn about his demographic and how to run his business.

Now that markets are back, Rhodes is looking forward to branding for his business.

“I like to get out and meet different people and get my name out, this way hopefully there’s a better chance that more people recognize my name and be more willing to order online,” said Rhodes.

Tammy from AZ Wreath and Deco said for her going to markets is where her business benefits the most. Tammy began her business selling handmade floral wreaths in November of last year and credits word of mouth for her success.

“It’s word of mouth for me... coming to these events and putting my information out everywhere in my flyers and cards is how it’s done for me,” said Tammy.
By the middle of the day, Tammy had emptied her backup supply of wreaths and sold out of her centerpieces, exceeding her expectations.

“I’ve done Peoria and other local farmers’ markets...but this one has been spectacular. I think with the city of Surprise, it is a tight-knit community, and people are just so warm, so events like this really bring people out,” she said.

The Christmas Market also exceeded expectations in the success of the food drive, donating over 7,000 pounds in donations to Valley View Community Food Bank, which has multiple West Valley locations but serves people across Arizona.

Jesse Ramirez, the food bank’s founder, said this time of the year the food bank is especially in need of donations.

“Right now is a really is a big need. For some reason, people aren’t back at work. For some reason, seniors over 55 are needing more help. So we opened up a new location in Sun City West,” said Ramirez.

Valley View food bank said they rely solely on public donations, so food drives make a big impact for them.
The donations will help about 15,000 people across the valley and will last about a month and a half.

“From every pound that we get from donations like this we will add purchase products like meat, cereal, rice, and pasta to make good nutritional food boxes,” said Ramirez.

The Surprise Christmas Market’s return from the pandemic was an success and a wonderful start to the holiday season in Surprise.

Artisan Market’s next event will be its Sunday Funday at the Park event, held next year, on Feb. 20 at Mark Coronado Park.

Sam Ballesteros is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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