A long row of white-canopied tents glittering with Christmas lights offers some holiday cheer in downtown Washington, despite the gloom of the pandemic.
The 16th annual Downtown Holiday Market opened Friday on F Street NW, between 7th and 9th Streets, in front of the recently-shuttered National Portrait Gallery — closed because of rising numbers of coronavirus infections in D.C. and surrounding communities.
“It was just a nice opportunity to come out, get out of the house, do something different; there’s not a lot we can do right now because of COVID,” said Trena Mills of Northwest D.C.
Mills said she appreciated the social distancing capabilities at the street fair.
Because of the pandemic, this year’s market, operated by the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, has moved off the sidewalk and into the street closed to traffic. The extra space allowed visitors more space to separate while shopping.
The entire two-block area is secured by fencing. Visitors enter the makeshift-village at the center of the block, following a temperature check. All visitors exit the market-area a few steps down from the entrance.
People browsed stalls with art prints, jewelry, antiques and collectibles, clothing and gift foods.
“I got some bourbon-infused artisan honey, and I got three different types of teas I will enjoy immensely,” said one happy shopper, Kaylynn of D.C., who did not give her last name.
Families, couples and small groups of friends were among the people visiting the Holiday Market.
“It’s a little bit of normalcy, which is nice, and it’s a little bit of helping out local vendors, which is also great, and I’m sure as it gets closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas it will get even better,” said John V. Lewis from Manassas.
The Downtown Holiday Market will be open from noon to 8 p.m. each day until Dec. 23.