Seven Des Moines holiday markets set for season

As the warm fall finally gives way to seasonal temperatures, it’s time to bundle up and hit the holiday markets.

Here are seven opportunities to find local gifts and decorations.

Jingle at the Junction

The Valley Junction Festival in West Des Moines runs from mid-November to mid-December. The free event will be held on Thursdays from November 17 to December 15 from 5 to 9 p.m.

Many businesses in Valley Junction’s historic business district are extending their hours. Visitors can stroll down Fifth Street or Railroad Avenue and find all kinds of holiday events, from horse-drawn trolleys to Christmas carolers under 125,000 holiday lights.

Bars and restaurants will also be open to cater to the public.

Holiday walk

Ring in the holidays with the annual Holiday Promenade in the East Village, held every Friday from November 18th to December 16th from 5-9pm.

Carriage rides, scavenger hunts, and other activities are the highlights of this holiday market, and people can walk from store to store. Each has extended hours for the evening and offers giveaways and sales. There are also many restaurants and bars to visit for a meal or a drink.

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Starting on the first Friday of the market, Brenton Skating Plaza at Grand Avenue and Robert D. Ray Drive is open for skating with sessions from 5:15-9:00 and 9:15-11:00. pm For admission, skate rental and registration information, visit and click on “locations.”

North Pole Craft Show and Vendors

The annual Adventureland North Pole Craft and Vendor Show will be held at the Adventureland Inn, 3200 Adventureland Drive in Altoona, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 19. The event benefits the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. Donations required are one non-perishable food item per person or $1 per person.

Fall Makers Market

The Falk County Conservation Market is a free event that provides an opportunity to browse the goods offered by more than 40 local producers, artists and craftspeople.

Educational holiday shows are designed to provide additional and affordable family entertainment. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20 at Jester Nature Park, 12130 NW 128th St., Granger. A complete list of vendors can be found at

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Festival of Trees and Lights

Each year, the Iowa Event Center’s Festival of Trees and Lights benefits Blank Children’s Hospital, featuring dozens of decorated trees, entertainment and stories from the children cared for at the hospital.

Tickets are $5 per person (free for children 2 and younger) and can be purchased at or at the door.

The event, which is offered the weekend after Thanksgiving, will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on November 25 and 26 and from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on November 27.

The day of the holiday

The Holiday Hullabaloo benefiting Dorothy’s House will be held every Friday through Sunday from November 25 through December 31 at the Horizon Event Center, 2100 NW 100th St in Clive.

Every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., families can decorate cookies, make crafts in Santa’s workshop, play mini-golf and shop at the market. There will also be an indoor arena for snowball fights and Toyland.

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From 7-11 p.m. each night, the event is limited to adults 21 and older with an ice bar and cocktails. Admission for the day will be $20 (free for children 2 or younger). Nightly admission will be $25. Tickets can be purchased online at

Dorothy’s House offers programs and resources for victims of human trafficking, exploitation, and harassment.

Christkindlmarket Des Moines

Christkindlmarkets are German holiday markets held in cities around the world. Traders in decorated wooden huts, musicians and food vendors add to the festivities. Also, don’t forget the glühwein.

This year’s Christkindlmarket Des Moines will be held at Principal Park at 1 Hattie Drive in Des Moines from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on December 1st, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on December 2nd and 3rd and from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on December 4th .

Philip Jones covers retail and real estate for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-443-3347 at [email protected] or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.


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