Inspired by Quaint European Christmas Markets, Duluth Winter Village is December 2-3 (on Harbor Drive by the DECC & Irvin ship).
The tradition of the European Christmas market evokes images of twinkling lights, delightful aromas of hot beverages and delicious food, joyful holiday music, and the excited sounds of children in the air.
That tradition has been part of the holiday landscape in Duluth since 2016, first on the grounds of Glensheen Mansion, and, for the last two years, behind the DECC. This year, the Winter Village is back again on December 2 and 3.
Lucie Amundsen, DECC Communications Director, said, “This will be the DECC’S third year of hosting the Duluth Winter Village, right by the bay and in front of the Irvin freighter (which happens to be painted a festive red).”
“This indoor/outdoor winter market is designed around small businesses and this scenic city. It came from the idea of making it fun and easy to support Duluth and regional businesses during the holidays. The event features 50+ local small businesses selling unique, curated goods out of custom-built wooden cabins. It’s just a wonderfully festive vibe,“ Amundsen noted.
Gia Bellamy is one of the co-founders of Duluth Loves Local. “I have been involved with the Winter Village since 2016. We plan the event, find vendors, create the vision for the experience, and work with all the businesses to make it happen.”
Mallory Moore, the other co-founder of Duluth Loves Local, said, “The DECC is a great home for the Winter Village. Our event wouldn’t be possible without the location and the team that works there. We also have a number of sponsors who give their time or financial support to make this event possible.”
The Winter Village offers something for any appetite with a variety of everything from tacos to gourmet marshmallows. Some vendors offer food that can be purchased for gifts as well.
Hungry Hippie Tacos General Manager Casey Gillard, said, “We have had a blast at the Winter Village before and are excited to be back!” They will have a few new specials, as well as items from their varied restaurant menu.
They make tacos that “embrace the spirit of the Northland,” featuring puffy homemade taco shells and house-smoked meats from their Duluth restaurant at 1810 W. Superior Street.
Amy Sirois, owner of The Minnesota Marshmallow, said, “We love coming to the Winter Village. We have sold out before, so this year, we are bringing more bags of our holiday varieties of marshmallows.”
She said that people buy her small-batch gourmet marshmallows not only as an immediate snack but by the bag to give for gifts and to use as stocking stuffers.
Her unique flavors for sale include North Pole Peppermint, Santa’s Sugar Cookies, Mike & Jen’s Cocoa, Boozy Bailey’s, Chai Spice, and Ginger Snaps.
Other food vendors include Duluth’s Best Bread, Love Creamery, Scenic 61 by New Scenic Café, TBSP Waffles, Yes Cheese, and many more.
Winter Village vendors have “cabins” filled with shopping ideas for gifts and holiday decor. Vendors include Superior Blooms, Frost River, Wintergreen Northern Wear, Ivy Moon, Duluth Pack, Duluth Flower Farm, Pebble Spa, Whimsy, Bailey Builds, and many more.
Whimsy owner Alyssa Carlson said, “We enjoy all the holiday spirit and meeting new people. We are excited to have people see what we offer for children—from babies to ‘tweens’ from our Fitger’s store.”
She added, “In addition to our unique clothing, we will have lots of gift and holiday ideas such as plush toys, ornaments, and decor. Our mittens and hats sell well as people find they want warmer clothing for the kids.”
Anna Bailey, owner of Bailey Builds, with art and handmade items made from wood, has been a Winter Village vendor since the festival began. Her cabin will be filled with some of her statement one-of a-kind art pieces, holiday decor, a “Make your own Winter Village” kit, and other DIY kits.
Bailey said, “The Winter Village is a great representation of some of the unique stores and makers that Duluth has to offer. It is the best of the best, all in one weekend in one spot.”
Yule Hall and Candy Cane Lane
Moore noted, “Our Yule Hall hosts all of our food and beverage vendors! It’s fully inside of Pioneer Hall with lots of choices and space to unwind. There’s seating, a 25-foot tree, a photo wall, and a family area for babies and parents by Duluth Moms.”
Candy Cane Lane will have a large hands-on activity area, a corn pit, “hug a hen,” a 5-minute portrait artist, and a holiday movie playing on an inflatable snowman.
The Yule Hall has the entrance to the new Candy Cane Lane kids’ zone and the Hucklebeary store’s new shop called Hollybear.
Emily Ekstrom, Hucklebeary owner, said, “We are excited to try something new this year with our Hollybear store made especially for kids’ shopping, Kids can come into a child-sized store to pick out a gift for their adult with help from one of our Santa’s Helpers.”
The gifts will be prepackaged and wrapped. Ekstrom said they will have some of their other holiday items and ornaments for sale in the mini-store as well.
“There will be live animals,” Moore said. “Cooks Country Connection plans to bring Sophie llama, Arty the alpaca, Benny the mini horse, and Poppy or Taco for a mini donkey— along with Trixie the goat and her son Tater. We also will have Locally Laid bringing hens!”
Free ice skating is back with festive lights, free skates rental (limited availability), and a live DJ from 2 pm – 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The Duluth East Choralaires will be performing on Saturday.
Bellamy noted, “My favorite part of the event is seeing it become an annual tradition for families and groups of friends. We’re honored to be part of the magical holiday season, where guests can gather with their loved ones, and local businesses get the support and love they deserve. We’re lucky to have them, and this event is a celebration of that.”
“I am always charmed by the cabins and seeing how each vendor decks them out as their own. Going to a German Christmas Market has long been on my bucket list. Duluth Winter Village has gotten me that much closer,” added Amundsen.
Duluth Winter Village Details
Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, 2023
Open 10 am until 5 pm both days, Skating 3-5 pm in the DECC
Free to attend – no admission fee
$10 DECC Parking