[Editor’s Note – this essay on Eugene’s Saturday Market and the Holiday Market was written by Joe Blakely. Mr. Blakely is a Eugene Saturday Market vendor and is the author of 18 books about Oregon.]
The present day Eugene Saturday Market
is located in the Park Blocks at 8th Avenue and Oak Street. It is a place where Eugene residents and out-of-town visitors can assemble, let their hair down, dress in outlandish wear, laugh, eat exquisite meals, buy unique gifts (not the chainstore boring replications) like interesting handcrafted artwork, pottery, clothing, jewelry, photographs, and books all while listening to enterprising musicians. The outdoor market is open from April through November. In November the market moves indoors and becomes Eugene’s Holiday Market at the Fairgrounds, running on weekends through December 24.
The current market was founded by an acclaimed ceramics artist, Lottie Streisinger, in 1970. From its meager start of just 29 vendors it has expanded to more than 600 members. Lane County’s bourgeoning artist community is offered an opportunity to display their creations. It’s a fact that large chainstores with their media control of advertising, muffle out local artists without the financial backing to reach these larger markets. Proudly and simply stated, Eugene’s Saturday Market provides an outlet for our Lane County crafting community.
Prior to the market’s current location, it was located at the “butterfly” parking lot across from the Lane County Court House. In 1982 it moved to the Park Blocks. Since then it has flourished as a Eugene tradition. Still, like any business Eugene’s Saturday Market has experienced ebbs and flows.
In 1970 the idea was presented to Eugene folks as a way to create interest in a sagging downtown economy. The idea worked. At first downtown businesses fought the idea, but soon found that the market actually increased their profits. People started coming back to Eugene’s downtown. So the market started expanding. Then, in 1982, an arsonist destroyed most of the market’s operational equipment. Membership dropped off. The market fought back, overcoming internal strife and resurrecting itself, once again becoming a prominent downtown draw.
The one steadying principal has been the desire of our local crafters, despite difficult setbacks, to keep our outdoor market open. Yet, even as the market succeeded, events would happen downtown to limit its popularity. Some Eugene residents feared coming downtown, due to political turmoil, a pandemic, smoke invading our lungs and hurts our eyes, and other causes. Heroically, the membership rose up and addressed these challenges, keeping the 50-plus year tradition alive. Today, Eugene’s Saturday Market strides safe, secure and strong leading into Saturday Market’s main event, the Holiday Market.
The last outdoor Eugene Saturday Market for 2022 was November 5. Now, once again, our crafting community will be moving indoors to the Lane County Events Center’s exhibit hall and performance hall for the Holiday Market
. This is a holiday adventure like none you’ll ever experience. There will be hundreds of vendors bent on providing you with that special hard to find gift. There will be staged musicians delighting you with music, and there will be food vendors to provide you the sustenance for another shopping spree. And yes, if you must know, the one and only Frog will be there with his famous joke books.
Holiday Market 2022 Dates
Inside at the Lane Events Center:
Saturday – Sunday, Nov. 19-20
Friday – Sunday, Nov. 25-27
Saturday – Sunday, Dec. 3-4
Saturday – Sunday, Dec. 10-11
Saturday – Sunday, Dec. 17-18
Friday – Saturday, Dec. 23-24
Hours: 10am-6pm (closing at 4pm on Dec 24)