Minturn Winter Market returns Saturday |

Minturn Winter Market returns Saturday

Geraldine Haldner

Before you come down with a serious case of holiday anxiety, however, and rush off to some far-away mall where the snow is artificial and Jingle Bells is played ad nauseum, consider the Winter Market in Minturn.

It’s the natural remedy for gift-shopping angst.

Instead of the fake holiday trimmings and trappings of Front Range malls, the second annual winter market in Minturn beckons with a great selection of creative crafts, tasty snacks and all the authentic scenery needed to get into the holiday spirit.

More than 40 merchants are offering their wares – from hand-woven baby blankets to authentic Stollen, an authentic German sweetbread – in a story-book atmosphere dominated by flickering fire pits, real mistletoe and the smell of roasted chestnuts.

“This year we were able to pick the vendors we wanted,” says Liz Campbell, the town’s special events organizer.

“The market has gotten very competitive, but we keep the number of booths down to create a real intimate and cozy atmosphere.”

Unlike the Minturn Summer Market, which has grown to more than 70 vendors since it started in 1999, the winter version won’t expand, Campbell says.

“We are trying to keep it small, not as spread out as the summer market,” she says.

Strategically placed fire pits and a wide variety of hot food items as well as steamy beverage choices, she adds, will keep shoppers warm as they wander through the market at the north entrance to town.

From wreaths to garlands to ornaments, to nuts, jams and jellies or salsas and dips, shoppers will find a wide variety of gifts and goodies – or as Campbell puts it, “pretty much everything you are looking for to decorate for the holidays and entertain.”

New from last season, the line-up of vendors will vary from week to week.

“So if you come on the seventh (of December), you’d still find new stuff on the 14th or 21st,” Campbell says.

It’s the winter market’s second season, this time spanning three Saturdays.

A staple at each Saturday market – the first two go from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the last before Christmas starts at 2 and end at 6 p.m. – will be Santa Claus.

Day care is available, too, at Cougar Active Academy. Hourly drop-off rate is $8. For reservations call 827-LEAP (5327)

Billed as “the best” by Campbell, Minturn’s Santa – the only real one – will be visiting with children, taking notes from wish lists and posing for photographs with the young and old – even with pets.

During the last market on Dec. 21, free sleigh rides, hot chocolate and a fire works show at 6 p.m. will ring in the holidays for good. A communal wreath will adorn the town’s entrance, complete with ornaments created by Minturn residents. The blank ornaments are available for free in Minturn stores and at the market prior to Dec. 21.

Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at 949-0555 ext. 602 or

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