Christmas in Niagara Falls, USA

The Niagara Falls Holiday Market is a phenomenal idea. Take a largely abandoned, gritty street not far from a natural wonder, invite locally-owned businesses and artisans like 464 Gallery, Sarah Walley, Delish, Zillycakes, Tony Walker, and others to set up in little sheds along the street, add a festive atmosphere, some concerts, a skating rink – and voila, a European-style Christkindlmarkt.

It has huge potential to help reinvigorate a dead downtown, to bring people to the New York side of the Falls for something that isn’t casino or waterfall-related, and to start a great tradition. I really wanted our visit to this market to be awesome. It didn’t quite hit that mark, but it was fun enough.

The market was officially opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The reviews on its Facebook page were unflattering – people were disappointed. Many vendors hadn’t set up yet. Some were completely absent.

We went on Saturday right at 11am when the market opened for buy local day. I’m hopeful that this event gets its act together sooner rather than later. Tony Walker was nowhere to be found. Arrowhead Winery and other local vendors we were looking forward to checking out were absent or closed. 464 Gallery had a great tent-full of locally-produced arts and crafts, and we were honored to meet Sarah Walley herself, who had a table set up to sell her famous French macarons. But Tony Walker? There was no evidence of it anywhere. Biscoff Gourmet was shuttered. I didn’t see Menne Nursery. andBuffalo was still under construction. I didn’t see the Sabres store, either. I saw no evidence of DiCamillo’s at that hour. At least two cabins were empty and without signs.

It’s always difficult to set up a new event – especially one as ambitious as the Niagara Holiday Market. It’s also seductive to make excuses such as “well, at least someone’s doing something positive in the Falls”.   And it is.

But if I was one of the merchants who was able to get it together to be up and running on November 25th, I’d be a bit disappointed that others (especially some marquee names) weren’t. We traveled out of our way to enjoy a stroll and do some shopping in a place where neither really happens, ordinarily.  It was surprisingly empty and devoid of holiday cheer.  Perhaps it would make more sense to be less ambitious in terms of time, and limit it to the three December weeks leading up to Christmas. Maybe the organizers need to crack down on late and lackadaisical vendors.  When an event has so much promise, do it right.  I want the market to work – to thrive and to become a tradition, so hopefully its organizers will learn from their mistakes.

At least one published report indicates that the market costs $900,000 to put on, and that half of that money comes from city and state government. All the more reason why this should be professionally organized and done well.

On another note, the former Oxy Headquarters building known as the “flashcube” has been “saved” by a local developer but now resembles the food court of a dead mall. One gets the sense that it’s taking up loads of super-valuable parking spots. Neither its exterior nor interior are inviting, and it joins its neighbor the former Rainbow Centre as a past-its-prime eyesore stinking up the border with Canada. It’s ugly for a simple building from 1981, and is in palpable disrepair. It’s the Bronx-on-the-Falls.

UPDATE: Full disclosure, about a month after this post was originally written, one of the market’s vendors has retained my legal services to secure payment of a contractual debt.

48 comments

  • Allan – half the money comes from the state and the feds is a reason it should be professionally done? You’re kidding right? How many times do we have to se tax money squandered in this way before we figure it out? Maybe you and Buck could survey the ununsed spaces we the tax payers have built on the Buffalo Medical Campus to help the learning process along.

    • If it was all private money, I couldn’t care less how it was run. Also I don’t quite get the Medical Campus non sequitur.

  • I’m a vendor at the Niagara Holiday Market, local artisan, small business owner in Western New York. My store is called NIAGARA SOAPWORKS and I was happily there on Saturday morning at 11am because in the middle of the night I recruited some friends to help me finish building the shed! Before you blame lackadaisical vendors, you should have spoken to someone, anyone who could have told you that the vendors were working literally day and night to try to get into their booths to get a grab of that all-important Black Friday and Small Business Saturday share of the cash. We sell handmade artisan soap and we’d love to have been even remotely noticed by you as we are a grassroots, inner city Niagara Fall business that sprang up from a rebel community garden. I’d like to invite folks to come up and see the market and sample the excellent offerings by local merchants like Crushiki Bakery, Barker Chocolates, the Village Inn, the beautiful Menne Nursery market, and many more!

    • @Andrea Galyn: Obviously, since you were up, running, and selling at 11:30am on Saturday, my displeasure was not directed at you. I specifically called out the vendors who were not in the same state as you. I’d have mentioned your company, except for the fact that I wasn’t in the market for any soap products. I wish you the best of luck.

      @Anna: Yes, I know Tony Walker wasn’t “the only vendor signed up for the Holiday Market”, but they are _a_ vendor signed up for the market, and there was no evidence of their existence on Saturday whatsoever. The website indicates that they’re supposed to be there for the entire run. If I really wanted overpriced skinny jeans, I’d have obviously stopped at their shop on my way up to the Falls, but I don’t. I used them as an example of a general state of un-readiness and semi-completion I experienced at the market. That’s mostly why my disappointment isn’t, clearly, with the vendors who were present, and were ready, willing & able to sell stuff at the market during its regularly scheduled opening hours on Saturday. Instead, I made a point to criticize the vendors who were not there, not open, or not constructed by the time the market opened on its second scheduled day, and also to criticize the organizers for not being ready. You say I “chose to ignore the promise that was, against all odds, present at the Holiday Market?”

      It has huge potential to help reinvigorate a dead downtown, to bring people to the New York side of the Falls for something that isn’t casino or waterfall-related, and to start a great tradition. I really wanted our visit to this market to be awesome. It didn’t quite hit that mark, but it was fun enough.

      and

      It’s always difficult to set up a new event – especially one as ambitious as the Niagara Holiday Market. It’s also seductive to make excuses such as “well, at least someone’s doing something positive in the Falls”. And it is.

      But if I was one of the merchants who was able to get it together to be up and running on November 25th, I’d be a bit disappointed that others (especially some marquee names) weren’t. We traveled out of our way to enjoy a stroll and do some shopping in a place where neither really happens, ordinarily. It was surprisingly empty and devoid of holiday cheer. Perhaps it would make more sense to be less ambitious in terms of time, and limit it to the three December weeks leading up to Christmas. Maybe the organizers need to crack down on late and lackadaisical vendors. When an event has so much promise, do it right. I want the market to work – to thrive and to become a tradition, so hopefully its organizers will learn from their mistakes.

      I think the words from my original post speak for themselves and that Anna and Andrea completely miss my point. I’ve bolded the relevant passages for emphasis. I’m sorry that my honest assessment having attended the second scheduled day of a monthlong event is upsetting or offensive to you, and that’s why I was much kinder in my criticisms than I could have been. Bill’s comment underscores my perception that the event just wasn’t ready in time.

      Because I like the idea and want it to succeed, I hardly understand why attacking me – an actual customer – makes sense, but I’ve seen managers of hotels and restaurants react unwisely to negative reviews on Tripadvisor and Yelp, too, so I get the frustration.

      I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor, and still question why it cost $450k in public money and can’t be ready for opening day.

  • There are other vendors to consider – Tony Walker is not the only vendor signed up for the Holiday Market, you know! If you had taken the time to speak with the vendors who WERE present, you would know that there are so many people who worked so hard in an attempt to make this market a success. Unfortunately, they were let down by people in charge – but they worked through the holiday to try to make it happen anyway! There were many local small businesses present (yes, even on the less-than-stellar first day!). It would have been so simple to end this on a high note with a focus on those who didn’t give up. I am so sick of people doing nothing but criticizing Niagara Falls all while ignoring those who put so much into improving the city even though their efforts obviously go unnoticed. Things will never change if this is the prevalent attitude, and I am disappointed that you chose to ignore the promise that was, against all odds, present at the Holiday Market last weekend.

  • I travelled from Rochester on Saturday as well, albeit a little later in the day so some of the booths might have been opened. Menne Nursery was there and had some great stuff, I also saw pictures on facebook from friday so they should have been there at 11, maybe they were late getting in.

    The &Buffalo booth was open at that time and attracting quite a crowd, I asked him how business was and he said the booth was supposed to have been done Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday, and wasn’t done until Saturday.

    DiCamillos was over by the ice rink, might not have been open earlier, but it was sort of separate from the rest of the market, albeit potentially a good location to grab some cocoa after some ice skating. The Sabres store looked like it was still under construction right next to DiCamillos, at least that is what the sign on the half built shed said.

    I have a feeling the vendors were not the problem. I’m sure their priorities shifted once the market couldn’t deliver on their end of the deal, especially for the busiest couple days of the shopping season. It is a shame vendors like Andrea (I commend you for that BTW) had to spend her time and energy in finishing their sheds instead of doing things they do best like selling and marketing their products.

    Don’t even get me started on the ice rink and the condition it was in by the time we got there. I heard one lady telling one of the workers that the conditions were dangerous and his response was “What do you want me to do”. Things like this are exactly why it needed to be done right, and most likely it should have been professionally organized.

    There is a lot of potential and the food booths were good, but it felt like we were there for a test run a week before it was supposed to open.

  • A link to the the Niagara Falls Reporter? Sure I believe you, it must be true if its in the reporter. How about those food trucks? You must of wrote at least 10 posts about them on your old site, but now they are yesterdays news. We were there both Friday and Saturday, sure no Tony Walker,audio Al must of changed his mind, but mmm that chicken wing soup was sure good. Give us a chance fellas Rome was not built in a day. Let us enjoy this new venue before you start ripping it apart, the reporter is already buying extra barrels of ink!

  • I am not a vendor – like you, I am a customer of the Holiday Market. Rather than mention the vendors (by name is what I mean – they deserved it) who WERE there and who clearly put so much time into making the market a success, you chose to focus on the negative aspects. No one is asking you to lie, but you could have shifted your focus to include them. If the point of this article was to report on the event in hopes that it will succeed, you have missed the mark.

    • I mentioned the ones that were there who I could remember. I couldn’t really say, “the toy vendor at the end on the right closest to the casino”. My hopes notwithstanding, the point of my article was to express disappointment at something that was poorly executed. Therefore, my article was spot-on. From 11 – 12 on Saturday, the thing was a mess. Attack me all you want, but you’re just shooting the messenger.

  • Alan, the Oxy Building has been a problem for years, but the blame doesn’t belong to the developer. He’s been trying to improve that property for years, only to get stonewalled and jerked around by city departments who won’t approve plans or provide permits.

    It’s typical Niagara Falls politics where you can’t get anything done unless you are in the good graces of the current folks in power.

    Past that, I agree with your assessment of the market thus far. I’m a Niagara Falls resident, and my tax dollars are going to this thing. The merchants who DID set up are great, but it’s fairly embarrassing to see some of these big names commit and then not show up.

  • Yup its a mess, better stay in Clarence. How was the tree lighting on Sunday? Did you pay a dollar to tell Santa what you wanted?

    • Clarence isn’t trying to lure people from outside Clarence to anything tree-lighting related.

      It was fun to say “I parked on top of the Aquafalls,” though.

  • I want to applaud Niagara Falls for taking this first step to make our city the holiday destination it used to be. It has been a HUGE undertaking to essentially build a small city within a city for the Holiday Market, something a much larger city with more resources would have a hard time pulling off. Rome certainly was not built in a day. Many people have put their heart and soul into making this successful, from the planners, organizers, construction crews, and vendors. As a first year event, I am sure there have been numerous unforeseen obstacles to overcome. No event on this scale ever goes smoothly the first year. Although the opening was not perfect, I personally count the Holiday Market a success and think it is a wise investment in the future of a thriving Niagara Falls. In years to come the Holiday Market will be a huge asset to our local economy.

  • I hope everyone involved is invested in doing this for at least two years. Anytime government gets involved creating publicly funded endeavors, it costs more and takes more time to succeed. For example, One Niagara may seem like an abandoned mall food court, but it is actually giving people a place to park, paying taxes and hosting vendors year round. If the city embraced the same entrepreneurial spirit, the Holiday Market would have a better chance at being a success.

  • @Joe, to be 100% fair, One Niagara isn’t paying it’s taxes because of a dispute with the city.

    Niagara Falls will only issue a certificate of occupancy for the ground floor. However, they continue to assess the building at a full occupancy level. I honestly think the lawsuit has merit; It doesn’t make any sense to say I can’t use part of my property, but expect me to pay taxes as if I was.

  • @Tom You are correct. I agree with their argument. The food, trinkets and other items sold there are indeed generating sales tax though, aren’t they?

  • The individual businesses leasing space are probably generating sales tax, sure, but it can’t be all that much. Even during the summer during the height of tourism season, that place isn’t exactly bustling.

    I’d venture to guess that the sales tax revenues that are coming out of there are pretty minimal. Obviously better than nothing, but still not great. Unfortunately, downtown Niagara Falls has been run on the ‘something’s better than nothing’ methodology for way to long.

  • Yep, I’m lazy. And Lackadaisical. I should have worked on Thanksgiving to get my booth done. I should have worked a 90 hour week instead of an 80 hour week. But I didn’t.

    I could have been mad about not having any power on Black Friday. I could be bitter, and think about all the money I didn’t make that day since I couldn’t plug in the cash register. But I know that creation is messy. I’m going to think about all the days that are left, about what can be improved each day, and about how grateful I am to get to be part of the beginning of something like this.

    I’m just so heart-broken that you didn’t have as much FUN as you expected Alan!

    • Zilly, you were open. Therefore, clearly my comments weren’t directed at you, first of all. Secondly, you should be mad at the (dis)organizers and the absent vendors. Certainly not at me.

      I’m just a prospective customer. Best to mock & attack me for having the nerve to attend an event and expect it to be as advertised. Right?

    • Incidentally, Zilly, you’ll note that I linked to your business in the main article, and I’ll note that I’ve spent money in your shop before.

      Given your obnoxious comment here, (written in response to my honest assessment of an event I went out of my way to try, and was in no way critical of you), I’ll think twice before repeating either in the future.

      I hear there’s a new cupcake store in EA that has yet to be dismissive of me.

  • Any event like this needs good word of mouth and repeat visits by customers in order to succeed. Assuming that Alan’s reportage of his experience is accurate, it sounds as though these may be difficult to come by without some real effort by organizers. Beating on the customer for having had a less-than-stellar experience is not great form.

  • Why no mention of the smokin Joe snow hill? And by the way Jaq. having a less-than-stellar experience has not stopped the hoards of blimps from going to the Taste of Buffalo.

  • I’m proud to have had my article on last year’s opening of Old Falls Street (follow link on my name) quoted by Mayor Dyster. As an unabashed fan of the Old Falls Street project, and shopping at markets vs. malls, I seriously considered checking out the holiday market on Black Friday. By transit, it would have been an hour-plus trip there, and an hour-plus trip back. The transit trip on even “normal” days is not my favorite, given the crowd vibe going to and (twice as bad) coming back from the casino. Knowing it would be much worse, and much more crowded, on Black Friday what with the holiday weekend and the shopping, I decided to hold off and go later.

    The upshot is that if I had gone, and found things in the state that Pundit describes, I would have been disappointed to say the least — and probably worse as I would have wasted a fair amount of time and money just getting there. The chances I would try going back later in the season, given the risks of having a similar experience, would be slim.

    All that said, I still plan to get to the holiday market, both to check it out and support both the event and the vendors. But only after hearing that the promoter has gotten things together.

  • Those of us who read Alan know that he loves to promote and protect consumer choice! The consumer wants what he wants when he wants it.

    However, given his sympathy for the challenges of the mobile food truck operators, you would think his article would have done more to be pro-local…. including having a touch of patience for embryonic evolution.

    The taco truck routinely broke down in its first days, and we still regularly see these businesses cancelling their location with “five minutes” notice.

    For that reason, it is unwise to assume laziness on the part of the non-appearing small business…. and it also means you are over-reacting on the Zilly front. Try to be in two courtrooms at once. You can’t; there must be a tradeoff.

    When I was at a pop-event (about 25 since 2007), I didn’t much care if others didn’t show up or their products were undesirable….. it meant more sustained attention for me….. more conversions for me. The people were there already, its a numbers game until the buzzer sounds.

    @Alan, I hope dollars left your pockets and went into the hands of businesses that were ready on Day 1.

    Your mention of them should be appreciated, but the tone of the article is basically ….. “go to the mall instead.”

    • Tony, I did spend money at the market.

      I would have spent more if, for instance, Arrowhead Winery had bothered to send someone there to man their booth during regularly scheduled market hours.

      And the tone of my article is actually, “if you can’t deliver on an advertised promise, get your shit together.” Imagine if about 1/3 of the exhibitors at Allentown Art Festival didn’t bother to show up or have their booths constructed until, say, noon on Sunday.

      I also think it’s counterproductive to blindly praise idea over effort and results. My criticisms in this article are actually quite mild, unless of course the reader is used to mindless reflexive cheerleading.

    • The tone is not “go to the mall” in the slightest and you’re being purposefully ignorant of that. Since Tony “Promote Buffalo City Love” is of the local school of thought that promotes “Yay, they tried! Hooray!” cheerleading, I can’t say I’m surprised. Criticism of something is usually committed to paper or screen in order to encourage improvement. In this case, I thought Alan went out of his way to remark that the idea is good, that the vendors in attendance offered an interesting experience and then bemoaned the fact that a half million dollar government sponsored event couldn’t seem to get all the vendors onsite for the opening and described a palpable sense of disarray surrounding the event. Which any critically thinking person might see as a problem or at least might think to point out in a review of the event.

      Instead, we get platitudinous “Come on, it was good enough, stop criticizing, it was better than nothing” thinking from a bunch of readers. It’s just that type of thinking that keeps Buffalo trapped in a mediocre stasis. Be better at things, strive for excellence, deliver on your promises. Approval of anything less perpetuates lowered expectations. The fact that you have anything to do with advising startup businesses in this town is disappointing.

  • Let me offer a slightly different question – you don’t review a restaurant opening weekend, right? You give them a month to settle in and work out the kinks. Why go to a new market opening weekend, and expect no hiccups (or no no-shows)? I am planning to go shop at the market myself eventually, but I expected it to be a mess the first couple days. If vendors aren’t showing and the place isn’t ready soon, it deserves the scorn. But if it works out the jitters, then I’d say you were a bit too quick, Alan.

    • If they wanted it to be a soft and/or incomplete opening, they should have done that. The Allentown Art Festival hosts hundreds of artisans over the course of 2 days. If they can pull that off, these guys could have pulled this off.

  • 1. I wasn’t open on Friday, Alan. You are mistaken. We were there, but unable to open due to a lack of power.
    2. I’m not mad at anyone. I choose to be positive, which I believe pulls more positive energy in.
    3. I found your article very negative; I felt it had a whiny, petulant, and superior tone. It was the tone I was mocking! I’m sorry it upset you. It does seem from all your comments that you can dish it out, but can’t take it. Pity.
    4. Whether you are (or aren’t) my customer really isn’t relevant in this discussion, is it? Competition is good for the marketplace, so I hope you’ll make your way out to Swirls and try their wares. I heard they had to close for two days after opening weekend because they ran out of everything, even eggs. Lucky for them you weren’t on their doorstep expecting a cupcake!

  • Re: 1. I’m mistaken. Just re-read the article. You went on Saturday. We were open. It’s a good thing you didn’t go Friday…every day it gets better! There are redeeming things in the first few paragraphs of your article. I saw red when I got to lackadaisical.

    P.S. Sarah Walley bakes out of my shop. I’m going to ask her to introduce us. I have a few questions I’d like to ask you in person!

    • Zilly, I specifically went out of my way to assail the vendors who were unopen, not present, and/or unconstructed for being lazy/lackadaisical. When I am asked to come to Niagara Falls to spend money with local merchants, I expect there to be local merchants there to buy from. Some were there – including you, which is why I did not criticize you and instead linked to your shop (I did not link to the absent).

      The funny thing about this is that I was really tempted to blast the whole thing as a failure. I have pictures on my phone showing a Holiday Market at midday on buy-local-Saturday that featured loads of empty space, blank or unopened sheds, not a lot of visitors, and barely a Christmas decoration to be found. It wasn’t as advertised. That’s not your fault – it’s the organizers’.

      I didn’t post those pictures because I didn’t want to unfairly penalize the vendors who did bother to show up and be ready for customers. I thought about Sarah, who was kind enough to introduce herself to me, and thought – “I don’t want to blast this place because she – and others – made an effort to participate in something good.” I want her – and you – to have a successful time of it.

      So, I wrote a piece that praised the idea and criticized its execution. It was fair, and it was accurate. The problem we have in Buffalo is that we will praise anything for positivity’s sake. This is not unlike last summer’s big hoopla over the Erie Canal snack shack. I was especially critical of promised vendors who were nowhere to be found. Or closed. That’s unacceptable by any measure. The market cost $450k in public money, and I’m sort of wondering where it went.

      Generally, I spend my family’s hard-earned money on things that I think are worth it. Especially in this precarious economic climate. I want the market to be a great attraction, and so do you. I want you to make money, and so do you. You clearly didn’t read my entire article and jumped to conclusions about me, about what I experienced, etc. If I was you, I’d be pissed off at what appears to be the organizers’ clear inability to plan events. Not for nothing event planning exists as a profession.

      Me? I’m just a guy who drove up to check it out, with a full wallet.

  • People, after 50 years of Allentown I would hope it would be better organized, but were you there in 1958? Or in 1970 for the Art festival Riot? For us here in Niagara Falls its just something to make the city suck less. People are already here it gives them more to do.

  • I would have liked to have seen Alan delve a little deeper in to why the vendors weren’t there, what were the issues with getting this up and running, why there wasn’t power on Friday, why weren’t sheds finished on time? Instead I think he placed some blame on the vendors that may or may not have even supposed to have been there according to the reporter article.

    Which leads to the real point of Alan’s piece, what was advertised wasn’t delivered, not even close IMO. I know there will be some hiccups on opening weekend but if this was everyone’s first rodeo maybe they should have not been as ambitious. I understand there will be bumps in the road for the first year, but that was also a point Alan made, maybe it shouldn’t have been so ambitious. I would have rather seen something scaled back in terms of time if it meant a better experience. Although I’m having a hard believing they couldn’t pull it off better when cities across the country have arts festivals, it isn’t re-inventing the wheel here. You don’t just throw out how a market can be set up just because it is in a different place.

    I would understand if this was a grass roots thing started by the local businesses but it isn’t and a lot of public money went into this and it looks worse and worse when it appears the organizer may come away with this with a healthy profit no matter the result.

    Unfortunately the City of Niagara Falls won’t be so fortunate if things don’t turn around. Worse case scenario is that It will be chalked up as another WNY failure and sign of incompetence and the potential to do something like this in the future will be compromised.

    I don’t see why WNY always has to settle for “at least someone is doing something”. I’m tired of it. You should be too. And when something is billed as one thing and you get a half-assed version of that, I’m sorry it makes things worse not better. Anyway I won’t go into a tirade about this when Chris Smith summed it up much better in his piece.

    I hope they turn things around, but word of mouth is out and it will be hard to change that initial perception.

  • I don’t understand all this back and forth.

    The only things that were criticized in the piece are the vendors who haven’t shown up, and the organizers who are allowing that to happen.

    Alan specifically compliments the vendors who ARE there and selling, yet those same vendors came here to crap on him? I don’t get it.

    To those vendors that are there, good on you. I’ll be making a trip to the Market as part of my holiday shopping this year, and look forward to seeing what you have to offer.

  • Where did you get this $450k in public money? Please stop repeating lies like fox news, you will need to do more than to link an article from NFR.

  • @Mike

    Niagara Falls City Council Minutes. March 7th, 2011. Agenda item #5. City of Niagara Falls asked to contribute $225,000, contingent on USA Niagara getting a matching $225,000 from NY State.

    The item passed, and USA Niagara was able to secure the matching funds.

    This is all a matter of public record.

  • I just stumbled across all of this rhetoric while I was looking for which vendors were part of this. My husband and I deliberately booked a hotel on the American side to get into the spirit of Christmas and this market was one of what I was hoping would be a highlight. We’re coming from Ohio the weekend of 12/15. I’m staying optimistic that the vendors will be operational, the weather will be wonderful and I’ll have hot chocolate, christmas carols and unique gifts to take home for Xmas. I’m counting on New York and Christmas miracles. See you soon.

  • I do not know the owner of Arrowhead Vineyards, but be assured, not being there was out of character. In the last year, I have seen her sampling product in more places than any other Niagara Winery, including Clarence, Williamsville and North Tonawanda markets, as well as other places. It’s always the same person. Hope you have a chance to go back and support them or vist their winery in person.

  • I think you have to be realistic about the amount of time it takes to put something like this together. From the articles I’ve read, most of the funding was secured in late September. Up until then, they were missing some big sign-offs. So we’re talking basically 2 months to pull a very big project together—that’s just not enough time by any stretch of the imagination. While I agree that strictly speaking booths ought to have finished and vendors ought to have been open, I am not at all surprised that they were not. 2 months is nothing for something like this. Even with 50 years under their belt, if the Allentown Festival gave themselves only 2 months, they’d have problems too. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes before you see the booths on the street (and of course AVS doesn’t have to build any of theirs).

  • I think only 40k was pledged in March. They requested better planning before committing to more–at least according to the News reporting on this.

  • That is really pretty cheap for a 37 day festival! A know lawyers are cheap but come on, show me where else you can get over a month of entertainment for that price. Maybe we need the IDA to step in for ten year tax break.

  • Just to set the record straight…Menne Nursery was set up and open for business at Noon on Friday as advertised. We arrived at 8 am to finish sprucing up our booth after spending all day Wednesday there…7 am to 11 pm…covering walls, setting up and decorating Christmas trees, merchandising shelving units, decorating the outside of out booth with wreaths and garlands…. how did you miss us?? We’ve been there every day since… even today in the pouring rain! There were definitely some bumps in the road with all the booths not being completed by Friday and electrical issues, but as other posts here stated, for a first time event, it is all coming together nicely, albeit a little late. We at Menne had terrific sales Friday, Saturday and Sunday!! Even more important, customers were excited, had very positive comments about the Market and many told us that they plan to return throughout the 37 days to experience the many events taking place on different dates. We are wishing all the vendors much success and hope the Niagara Holiday Market becomes an annual event helping Niagara Falls, NY, become a Christmastime destination.

  • I guess my problem is that I don’t function as an isolated individual, and neither does my business. When I become part of something, I feel for and connect to the other “parts,” in this case vendors, organizers, construction workers, customers, etc. I’m not functioning with blind optimism or lavishing the “good enough” type of praise that so many of you seem to abhor. I really believe that this event has vision. It needs advocates to improve and to succeed. Comparing a two day summer event with a 37 day winter event is like comparing avocados and pinecones. I was warm and dry yesterday while it rained sideways at 45 degrees all day long.

    Incidentally, although business was scarce, I had a lot of fun. I took the $85 that I made on Monday and seeded it back into the market. Most of the vendors were open. It was a nice chance to visit with them, learn about their products, and have their booth all to myself. I bought a rockin hoodie from “and Buffalo,” 3 bottles of wine from Vintners winery (I drank half of one in my booth), a panini and soup from Sample, cupcake ornaments from Menne Nursery, peanut butter caramel popcorn from Niagara Popcorn at The Marche, and some cupcake lipgloss from a little booth near the conference center. All in all, quite a nice experience!

    • This is why I called the market a “phenomenal idea” that I hope will learn from its mistakes and be better organized so that it’s 100% ready for customers as promised. On Saturday, I did exactly what you describe (although I seldom had entire booths to myself), and was upset that some vendors were absent, and felt that this was (a) fundamentally unfair to the vendors who were present; and (b) indicative of poor preparation and organization on the part of the people running the market.

      So, while you (and others) think I was attacking you, I was defending you.

      As for Menne nursery, you say you were there, and I have no reason to say you weren’t, but I didn’t see you, and I was looking.

  • I was talking about my shopping trip yesterday (forever to be known as $22 Tuesday), not Saturday. I shopped in the sideways rain. I was there Saturday from 12-2, in between wedding deliveries and Elmwood duties. And I ice-skated with my kids at 7pm. Deb ran the booth mostly by herself from 11-8.

    I know you think it should bother me that Tony Walker wasn’t there, but it doesn’t. Honestly, seeing their name as a vendor was the prompt I needed to sign on. Once on board, though, I’m looking for what I can do to help make the market better, not whom I can blame for things that are less than perfect. As a vendor with a storefront, 2 kids, employees quitting days before Thanksgiving, blah blah blah, I certainly understand a last minute change of plans. I just wish you’d stop asserting what you think I should be feeling and listen to a fundamentally different take on the situation than your own.

    Incidentally, when you quote yourself in your comments, it actually weakens your point. People will take away from a piece what they will. You put yourself into a “lady doth protest too much me thinks” sort of situation.

    This is the last post I will make here. I’ll just agree to disagree. If you’d like to continue the conversation, take me out for a glass of wine. You know where to find me.

    • Incidentally, when you quote yourself in your comments, it actually weakens your point.

      I disagree, I think it helps educate the people who clearly didn’t read/comprehend the column before making accusations in the comments section.

  • Most of the Lewiston people have a basic hatred of Niagara Falls, even tho most of their families at one time lived here. Snob’s from Clarence are no different! I can see you hold your nose as you cross over the Grand Island Bridge.

  • I wish you’d stop asserting what you think I should be feeling

    I read that out loud, and I swear someone could make a small fortune setting that to music…

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