ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It was a brisk Saturday morning in Albuquerque as the weather hit freezing temperatures, but that didn’t stop hundreds of locals from visiting the first day of the Railyards Holiday Market. This is the first year it’s back as an in-person event since COVID, and streets were lined with cars in the downtown area as shoppers went to check items off their gift lists.

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Railyards Market Manager Alaska Piper said her team was thrilled to welcome back the community for the holiday season. “It’s been really exciting. We love building community out here at the Railyards and we’re just really excited to be back with our community, back with our local vendors, and serving the community in a significant way,” Piper said.

Vendor Victoria Montoya said this was her favorite market of the whole season, especially after COVID-19. “I think the pandemic has really shown people that they can buy a lot of local stuff, especially with all the shipping issues going on right now. This is the perfect place to come support local and you don’t have to worry about it getting here on time for Christmas,” Montoya said.

Rio Rancho resident Nancy Hendricks said this is her first time attending the holiday market, but was pleasantly surprised to see so many different products to choose from. “It’s great. There are so many vendors here – we’re really enjoying ourselves. There is art, there is pottery, there’s food. It’s just a wonderful event,” Hendricks said. “It’s obvious there are so many people here but it doesn’t feel crowded. There’s still plenty of room to move around and see all the different vendors. It’s amazing. I think the local support is fantastic.”

In previous years, the holiday market has welcomed over 30,000 shoppers. This year, the market is offering a park and ride service where people can park at the zoo and be shuttled to the market grounds at no cost. They also offer a free bike valet and encourage visitors to use these options to reduce the impact on the residents who live in the area.

Piper said they are also hosting a toy drive for kids in the area who might not get Christmas presents this year. They accept books, toys, instruments, and bikes at the Donation Station at the entrance of the market. The market will run Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.