two fests

Early December means it’s time for the flags and banners to be strung up along the aisles and high ceilings of the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, as the annual Vermont International Festival gets underway!

I’ve lived here a little over five years now and I’ve had some time to explore the area’s numerous ethnic restaurants, markets, and artisan shops. It’s often occurred to me just how accessible non-American cultural experiences actually are in a state with a population that’s 98% white. Sometimes I think we try harder to reach out for that very reason.

This year’s marketplace is open for the next two days at the Expo.

In contrast to the International Fest’s offerings from places like Poland, Uganda, Peru, and Tibet – this weekend there’s also another festival underway in Richmond featuring goods from a little closer to home. The Town Hall, the library, and the historic Round Church will all be sites for the annual Richmond Holiday Market. I went last year and picked up a few bottles of blueberry preserves (made with berries picked fresh at Owl’s Head Farm) to get me through to summer, along with a couple of extras to share with friends. The Richmond Market is a one-day-only happening, tomorrow from 9am to 3pm.

I do not believe in buying stuff just because the calendar says we’ve come to the last month of the year.

I do believe in supporting local artisans and businesses, and exploring the world’s diverse cultures through any means humanly possible.

These two markets make a good case for taking a little weekend time and seeing what you might be able to find there.

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