Winter Market & Holiday Fair returns to Eagle Friday, Saturday

Caramie Schnell
Kabbage and Hugs owners Hailee Rustad, left, and Kari Bangtson will be at today's Winter Market & Holiday Fair in Eagle. They make coasters, wine bottle holders, ornaments and more from beetle-kill wood.
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If you go ...

What: Winter Market & Holiday Fair.

Where: Eagle River Center, Eagle County Fairgrounds, Eagle.

When: 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: Free. Donations of non-perishable food items being taken at the door for the Vail Valley Salvation Army Food Pantry.

More information: Visit

Forty days. Sorry to be Debbie Downer, but that’s how many days until Christmas. And unless you’ve gone the no-gifts, just-time route (and BRAVO, if so!) you likely have at least a few gifts left to buy.

Enter the Winter Market & Holiday Fair taking place at the Eagle River Center in Eagle Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 4 p.m. From custom s’mores sticks made from pine beetle kill wood to hats, mittens and scarves fashioned from recycled wool sweaters, there gifts you’re definitely not going to find at Walmart.

“The Winter Market and Holiday Fair makes for a truly stress-free holiday shopping experience. Plus, it’s a great way to buy local and support Colorado craftspeople,” said market organizer Janet Thrasher. “I’ve found I can do all my Christmas shopping right there and then it’s done and I can enjoy the holidays from here on out.”

Around 45 vendors will be selling goods at the event, including lots of new vendors, like Rifle-based company Snyders’ Knifemaking, which sells custom made knives, Vail Kid’s Boutique, also new, will be selling tutus for little girls and clothing for boys and girls, Thrasher said.

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Kabbage and Hugs, which is based in Minturn and sells the aforementioned s’mores sticks, is also a first-time vendor. Owners Hailee Rustad and Kari Bangtson make coasters, beer bottle openers, wine bottle holders and stoppers, ornaments, vases and candle holders, all from downed pine trees they find locally. “We pick up sticks in the woods and make them into things,” Rustad said.

At today’s market, Rustad expects the s’mores sticks and their branded ornaments to be the most popular items at their booth, she said

“This summer we sold thousands of s’mores sticks. We didn’t realize they’d be such a hit. We wood burn the ornaments. Last winter we had just started and we made a few ornaments and we sold out at every market we did last winter,” she said.

This year there are more Christmas and holiday decorations for sale than the market, in its sixth year, usually has, Thrasher said.

“And we have great toys this year,” she said. “There are three booths full of timeless toys and educational toys, that’s worth coming down for alone.”

Brittany Ehman, owner of Grandma’s Fudge, will be at the market selling fudge made using a fifth generation recipe. Parabelle sells “beautiful shawls and really nice hair and shawl clips,” Thrasher said.

Along with vendors, attendees can enjoy holiday songs from the Dickens Carolers from 1 to 2 p.m. and free face paiting for the kids from 1 to 4 p.m. A bounce house for the kids will be set up all day. Castle Peak Veterinary Service will be offering $15 pet and family Photos with Santa. All photo proceeds benefit the United Methodist Church Food Ministry Simple Suppers Fund. Every photo with Santa ensures entry into a two-prize giveaway to win one free exam with vaccines or two free nights’ pet boarding.

Admission is free. Donations of non-perishable food items for the Vail Valley Salvation Army food pantry are being gladly accepted.

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