By Charlotte L. Jacobson, Wilkes-Barre Citizens’ Voice
Even if the weather outside is frightful, visitors can walk in a winter wonderland in downtown Wilkes-Barre this weekend.
The inaugural Old-Fashioned Holiday Market kicks off Friday on Public Square, filled with arts and food vendors, as well as live holiday music.
In an effort to encourage locals to come explore the downtown area, the city of Wilkes-Barre worked for several months to organize this event, which will have a similar feel to the Fines Arts Fiesta, but winterized.
“It’s an opportunity to foster the community pride as well as strengthen realtionships with the city and the public,” special events coordinator Patty Hughes said.
Among the twinkling lights and the large tree in the center of Public Squre, attendees can wander through several artisan vendors and food trucks while listening to a jam-packed schedule of holiday music, dancing and other acts on the bandshell.
The event runs Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition to the entertainment and vendors, there will be horse-drawn carriage rides throughout downtown Wilkes-Barre on Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. Rides are $5 per person and all proceeds will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This part of the market was organized by Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Outstanding Teen of 2017, Madison Dompkosky.
“I’m really excited for it, it’s coming up soon,” Dompkosky said. “I think it’s going to be a huge hit for the community. I posted the event to Facebook one night late in the evening and woke up the next morning to over 600 shares and comments… I can’t believe I’m the host of this event. I hope I raise a lot of money for the Children’s Miracle Network.”
Belgian draft horses will lead the way in 18th Century Victorian carriages around Public Square and professional photographer, Janine Louise, will be on site to capture that perfect Christmas card photo for an additional $5 that will also go towards the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This is the third year that Dompkosky has put forth efforts to raise money for the children’s organization.
“I have always loved this organization,” the 14-year-old said. “Last year I visited the Children’s Miracle Network in Pittsburgh and saw all of these kids with certain disabilities. But despite these disabilities, they were so optimistic.”
In addition to the horse-drawn carriage rides, choirs from Making a Difference Ministries, King’s College and Meyers High School will perform throughout the weekend. Dancers from David Blight School of Dance and an appearance from the local band, Broken Road Duo, are among the full schedule of performers set to take over the bandshell.
“At this time of the year, we do many Christmas events in Wilkes Barre and Plains (Township) and we really enjoy the atmosphere and the people who come out to participate in these events,” Allison Ritsick, of Broken Road Duo, said. “We think that the Holiday Market will bring the community out to enjoy some old-fashioned Christmas shopping and music. It is something different that I think people will look forward to each year.”
Hughes said there will be about 20 artisan vendors on the square for the event, from local food companies like Pittston Popcorn Company and Skook House of Jerky to Hidden Creek Vineyard and Winery. Other vendors include Knotty Nikki’s Pearls and Jewelry and LuLaRoe.
“I always dream big,” Hughes said. “This event is a great opportunity to get out in the winter and take advantage of the downtown.”