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Santa Barbara takes a page from Europe to open first Christmas market

Santa Barbara takes a page from Europe to open first Christmas market
The Paseo Nuevo shopping area off State Street in downtown Santa Barbara decorates for the holidays every year. The new Night Market adds to the holiday vibe. (Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants and Visit Santa Barbara)

Santa Barbara is doing something different for the holidays this year. Artisans and crafts people are coming together for the city’s first Night Market, based on the European-style Christmas markets. It gives visitors a chance to buy local and shop well into the evening.

In Europe, small booths are set up in the city square where artisans sell their goods. In Santa Barbara, the market is inside the former Macy’s at 701 State St. with lights, carolers, live music and food creating the holiday spirit.

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Shoppers will find boutique items from soaps and clothing to custom-made handbags and scarves from vendors such as Mely’s Fashions, British designer India Hicks and Plum Gift Boutique from Ventura. The marketplace in the Paseo Nuevo shopping area also will feature Santa Barbara wineries, cocktails made by the Good Lion bar, and a beer garden.

The idea came up after local businesses skipped the holiday shopping season last year because of the deadly Thomas fire. The hope is the Night Market will bring “a fun holiday season and [help the community] heal from last year,” said spokeswoman Lindsay De Aguila.

The Night Market opened last Friday and will be open 4 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Dec. 29 .

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