The inaugural West Hartford Holiday Market at the Noah Webster House will support small, local businesses and will also feature a brand new West Hartford-themed holiday ornament.
By Keith Griffin
Looking for a way to safely support small, local businesses and a treasured institution? The Noah Webster House’s first West Hartford Holiday Market will help you whittle down your gift-giving list while giving area artisans much-needed exposure and helping the museum during a difficult financial time.
On Friday, Dec. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can explore and purchase unique, handcrafted, artisanal, and even some tasty morsels from local vendors at the museum, located at 227 S. Main St., West Hartford. Shopping will be offered both indoors and out and attendance is limited to just 36 consumers at a time.
Jennifer DiCola Matos, executive director of the Noah Webster House and West Hartford Historical Society, admits hosting a bazaar of this sort is a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the museum is up to the task. “There are a lot of logistics to figure out,” she said.
When the idea was hatched to hold the first-ever holiday market, the pandemic situation was better in Connecticut, Matos said. In the past few weeks, the state has moved to Phase 2.1 with restrictions on the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings. Matos and her staff have planned for a safe experience.
“We wanted to be able to offer something to people in a safe way at a time when they’re not able to do a lot of things they’re able to do. We will be vigilant in terms of the numbers of staff and vendors, as well as visitors,” she said.
A variety of West Hartford vendors will be selling their wares at the holiday market. The Tiny Wren is offering romantic vintage and handmade jewelry and accessories. WeHa Candle Co., one of West Hartford’s newest businesses and a driving force behind the new holiday market, is offering all natural candles and fragrance products inspired by locations throughout town.
The Cottage Potter makes one-of-a-kind pottery pieces that are both functional and decorative. Anniemade Art creates unique hand-carved block prints and whimsical printed apparel and accessories like shirts, aprons, and bags. The Farmington Farm Truck will have wreaths and Connecticut farm made honey, jams, pickles, and hot sauces.
WeHa Brewing & Roasting Company will be offering freshly roasted craft coffee and providing samples of both coffee and beer. On Friday night only, WeHa Brewing & Roasting will collaborate with Bellis Bourbon, also a local business, offering a sample of a specialty drink incorporating the rich flavors of both coffee and bourbon. The Craft Experience booth will sell specialty pastries and baked goods and Small State Provisions will have its organic sourdough bread and small batch granola on sale.
The Noah Webster House is restoring an old tradition and hoping to start a new one. The museum will be selling its classic Gingerbread House Kits to go. Each kit includes freshly baked gingerbread pieces, Royal icing mix, and candy for decorating. Kits can be preordered at https://noahwebsterhouse.org/shop/ and picked up at the holiday market.
The new tradition is a West Hartford-themed holiday ornament making its debut at the market. The museum plans to offer a different keepsake, collectible ornament annually. They will be available in the gift shop along with other West Hartford branded items, books, toys, and gifts.
Inspired by the time slots uses for Haunted Happenings in October, the museum is selling time slots for shopping for a $5 donation per person. With it, you’ll be able to skip the line. “You can book a one hour experience. We don’t want to rush people. We find a lot of people signing up that way,” she said.
“It’s a great time to support your local businesses. Amazon doesn’t need your money. You can really support local crafters,” said Matos.
Admission tickets are available at https://noahwebster.yapsody.com/. Museum members can reserve a shopping time for free. Masks will be required at all times and social distancing will be enforced. Shoppers without reservations will be welcome but they may experience waits until capacity permit their entrance based on current COVID-19 guidelines.
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