Crazy holiday shopping time has arrived, as Thanksgiving marks the end of civilized shopping. This Saturday is small business Saturday, a day reserved for holiday shoppers to spend their money locally at brick and mortar shops. Urbana’s Holiday Market has plenty to offer in the way of supporting local small businesses. As we’ve pointed out over the last few weeks, this market has something for everyone on your gift list, and if you can’t find it amongst the vendors, you can find it in the shops at Lincoln Square Mall.
Last weekend’s market attendance was a little lackluster. It was brutally cold, so perhaps that was a factor. Although small, the crowd early Saturday morning was making out like a bandit with all of the produce available from local farmers. There were butternut squashes, cabbage, peppers, cilantro, kales, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. I picked up a stalk of Brussels for Thanksgiving; it’s currently serving as a centerpiece on my dining table until I get around to preparing it. I’m sure that these produce selections will still be available on Saturday, and what better way to liven up Thanksgiving leftovers than with some fresh produce. In fact, you can make a stock with your turkey carcass, add some fresh veggies and have a light and tasty turkey soup on Saturday evening.
I also picked up four French macarons from Sugar by Sarah: toasted marshmallow, vanilla bean, salted caramel, and pistachio orange blossom. These little treats were light, bright, flavorful, and straight up delicious. The chocolate really came through in the toasted marshmallow and salted caramel. The pistachio orange blossom didn’t have too much flavor in the way of pistachio, but the orange blossom filling was great. The vanilla bean was my least favorite; I found it to be overly sweet and slightly artificial in taste. Next time I’ll have to get a cupcake in a jar. If the macarons are any indication, the cupcake will be awesome.
The Cracked Truck was again parked outside of the mall, and I took advantage of the lack of a line to get a hot breakfast. They were featuring a special sandwich Saturday morning—the Thanksgiving Feast. This sandwich is every Thanksgiving lover’s dream: smoked turkey, a fried egg, hash browns, cheddar cheese, and autumn berry jam. I picked one up for my husband (who’d happily eat Thanksgiving dinner once a week), and he was quite pleased with the sandwich. It had all of the things your mouth needs to be satisfied: salty, sweet, tart, crunchy, creamy, soft. It was the perfect way to warm up on a very cold Saturday morning.
Starting this Saturday, Santa—a dude in Santa suit, that is—will be at the holiday market ready to plop your kid on his lap for some photos. This chair looks ripe and ready to receive Christmas merriment, so be sure to bring your camera or cell phone with you this weekend to capture the joyous face of your child sitting on the lap of a stranger (and hopefully not the joyous face of the stranger as your child sits on his lap).
Payment: Most vendors accept cash. A few may take personal check or credit cards, but that is less likely. There is an ATM in Lincoln Square mall.
Parking: Parking is available for free in all the lots surrounding Lincoln Square Mall.
The Holiday Market is located in Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. It’s open Saturdays through December 21st, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about the Holiday Market, check out the Urbana Business Association.