Yuletide Market


An idea I think that would thrive in Downtown Lowell is creating a Yuletide Market. The first or second weekend in December, close down Middle Street or another spot in downtown Lowell, with the cute cobblestone roads, and invite all the vendors from Western Ave. Brush Arts etc. and have mulled wine and hot chocolate just like they do in Europe. There could be a beer tent, craft tent for kids, maybe the local choirs could carol.

Boston’s Christmas Market in Seaport is a prime example of this, so why not Lowell!! 


Downtown Lowell in the winter is so cute time with all the lights, wreaths, and old brick buildings, I think if this is done right, it could turn into a holiday destination in MA.



  1. I would be totally down with this. I am an independent vendor, I think inviting the members of the Brush and other cultural groups in addition to the free agents. Maybe offer some tables to our cultural orgs (such as Lowell Celebrates Kerouac!
    Space means limitation and organization, but I think it’s a great idea. Lowell is the perfect setting. Would be glad to help in organizing also publicity.

  2. This is interesting, but I’d challenge organizers to consider what way would it be different than other such events across New England?

    What would help make it uniquely Lowell and more than the sum of local artisans, hot cocoa, and cider, which will also be happening in other towns around the same time (ex: Tyngsboro’s recent winter weeks by the bridge, whatever Boston’s doing this year, and Chelmsford center’s downtown holiday stroll)?

    Not sure about Boston’s seaport version, but the Boston City Hall version of the winter marketplace was one of the most impressive I’ve seen in recent years, with the unique extensive skating loop being a primary draw.

    Providence did a similar skating rink in their downtown area last winter as well, but equipped it with battery powered bumper boats with LED lighting, which was different enough to get you to stop and look:


    All that said, one of the aspects of big city events that planners forget when trying to rubber stamp the model into smaller towns/cities its that larger cities like Boston already have the foot traffic for markets like this from being in the heart of existing cultural attractions. In short: people are already there.

    Smaller cities like Lowell (or when I was part of the planning around bringing ice skating to Bushnell Park in Hartford years ago) do not have that traffic and really have to think outside the box to give folks from outside the region something they’ve never seen before and want to truly experience. That means thinking beyond the local walls and week-of street signage to truly attract folks from outside the region.

    Boston Examples (note the fact that the news made it as far as Seattle):



    As a busy professional who travels frequently to other cities I can honestly say that half the festivals Lowell runs I have no idea are even happening until the day of, which make them a great insider event, but far harder to stay abreast of when you’re not immersed in the local community.

    I’d suggest something like this be coordinated with Mill 5 and interconnected between downtown and the Mills so create a whole-city Yuletide experience, as well as a warmer/indoor venue for retirees or families to retreat to given the strong fluctuations in weather/temperatures we’re seeing this year.

    Bring horse draw carriage rides for older attendees who may want a nice holiday experience.

    Have professional photographers on hand to provide on-demand postcards for attendees who pay an admission fee and have a wrist band to help make it viral, even for those not immersed in a Facebook or Twitter page with a few hundred local followers.

    If skating, get some local figure skating/hockey celebrities in to put on a show at a specific time to draw their fans too.

    Heck, run some painted plywood and ice over some area plaza stairs to create a makeshift inflatable tube slide for families with kids and energy to burn.

    Make use of the abandoned NPS parking lot by the art studios or the one closer to the canals that was used for the “Dawn of Justice Center” staging materials. Help construct a legitimate “interconnected corridor” of attractions bridging downtown to the Mills, providing additional indoor vendor space, and showcasing the best of what Lowell already has, ideally with exception-based winter trolley rides on NPS/Streetcar Museum’s existing assets.

    I love this idea and think last winter’s Winterfest was a great example of the start of making something being greater than the sum of its parts, even if 50% of the cobblestone street space between the Old Court and the Smokehouse was unused and there was not much interconnectivity to warmer indoor space in the Mills.

    Putting ourselves in the shoes of our patrons means providing them an itinerary and experience unlike others, with enough food to keep folks around for more than an hour or two, and a way to leave with a personalized take-away / memento to share with others outside the region.

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