Pella is working to recreate the holiday marketplaces of the Netherlands with the Kerstmarkt Dutch Christmas Market which opens this morning.

Event chairman Lowell Olivier-Shaw, with the Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the second annual, three-day festival is gathering dozens of craftspeople and food vendors in the Molengracht  Canal area of the downtown, near the big windmill.

“It’s a traditional Christmas market like you would see in Europe with stalls where vendors are selling handmade, crafted items, made by the vendors themselves,” Olivier-Shaw says, “and then food booths and entertainment and just a lot of socializing in the community gathering area.” Shoppers will be able to find all sort of one-of-a-kind creations, he says, most of them with Dutch influences.

“Everything from hand-carved and -painted Christmas figures, to illustrators, to people that are doing leather work,” Olivier-Shaw says. “We have a company called Paper Baristas that make hand-printed gift cards, handmade chocolates and various items like that.” In addition to the vendors, there will be mood-setting live music from choirs, bands and brass ensembles.

Olivier-Shaw says to bundle up, as the forecast calls for seasonal temperatures. “It’s all outdoors,” he says. “There are a couple of social tents and there’s some hands-on classes or activities that you can sign up for, where you can participate in making maybe some type of holiday wreath or arrangement.” The market runs through Saturday, the same three days as the Pella Christmas Tour of Homes, and there’s also Pella’s Sinterklaas Parade on Saturday morning.


Radio Iowa