If you’ve kept up with the AHA (After Hours Alliance) Festival of Progressive Arts on social media, you may have noticed that String of Lights: A Holiday Market is getting into gear. And if you haven’t, here’s your chance to be in the know.
Last year, AHA introduced its annual holiday show at the Farmers Market Pavilion, maintaining the same DIY vibe as the Progressive Arts Fair (held in the Railyard) and the Art of the Machine (in the Rufina-Siler Nexus) both share. There’s something a bit punk about it all; an approach to making, viewing and sharing that pries open the usual boxes where art resides in this city. String of Lights is hosted by Ginger Dunnill and Lisa Evans of the AHA Festival of Progressive Arts team.

Originally founded to enable those outside Santa Fe's market system to offer their creations to the public, AHA has become a staple of a different kind of scene—one not defined by generating an organizational bottom line. Rather, the philosophy is about "highlighting and centering young, emerging artists as well as elders and old-school New Mexican makers" in an inclusive environment where they can sell their wares, in the words of Dunnill. That said, you can expect String of Lights to be pretty much be like a big party, brimming with food, drink, art and DJ-style cheesy Christmas tunes. What more can we ask for?

In total, 60 vendors line the interior of the pavilion—that's roughly 10 more than last year—with apothecary products, tinctures and teas, woodwork, ceramics, quilts, jewelry, succulents, clothing and much more for those on the hunt for a perfect gift to self and others.

For anyone excited about the fermentation business, Mudslide Stoneware (mudslidestoneware.com) has a host of functional vessels for kombucha and pickling needs, not to mention other kitchen necessities, including mortar and pestles, mugs and bowls.

Quail Studio (quailstudio.co) has honed the art of reusing scrap material, namely felt off-cuts, to forge structural bowls and bags that build on all the best traits of wool. Their process of using pre-consumer manufacturing waste is sustainable and makes for minimalist-friendly objects.

Maker of one-of-a-kind silkscreened T-shirts and bandanas David Sloan (a former artist-in-residence at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts) will be on his A-game, as always, offering intricate designs that that cross the color spectrum, all with a political twist.

Silver City/Madrid’s Power and Light Press (powerandlightpress.com), “fueled by a fleet of all-female letterpress operators with clean hands and filthy mouths,” as they say about themselves on their site, will be ready to sell a host of cards and other goods made completely in-house. They all bear messages—witty and hilariously off-color— that only a girl gang could think up.

Conscientious designer Aviva Baumann, whose line Twig (twig.works) boasts earrings that are easy on the eyes and made from recycled and salvaged woods, is also in the mix.

Other vendors include Mujeres de Adelante, Ocotillo Herbals and Devon Walsh Lang, Santa Fe Hemp, Izzy Squared Productions and many more. Keep in mind that vendors attempt to keep their price points at $100 and below, though undoubtedly some gift items will come in a bit higher. Tasty bites from Betterday Dine-In, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe and Patrick’s Fine Foods also complement beverage offerings from Santa Fe Spirits and Second Street Brewery.

Also be on the lookout for an amazing, bizarre and special appearance by that Perchtenlauf staple, the goat demon himself, Krampus, played by artist Cannupa Hanska Luger. Luger will be cruising the pavilion in a costume that is nothing less than a combo-deluxe of ceramic and felt (think, here, of his intricate sculptures of the same materials) ready to take selfies and talk history. He'll be spreading the good news of Krampus, an oft-misunderstood figure of Norse mythology.

Last year, String of Lights was a packed house with some vendors selling out completely, and this year will likely be the same. So get there early if you want in on a holiday buying experience that has proven to be the total opposite of (dare I say) Black Friday.

String of Lights: A Holiday Market
5-9 pm Saturday Dec. 9. Free.
Farmers Market Pavilion,
1607 Paseo de Peralta,