Market Day Pop Up Aims to Give Shoppers a Relaxing Black Friday Experience

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The 11th annual Market Day pop-up returned to downtown Des Moines this Black Friday. 

This year Market Day brought 75 Midwest craft businesses to Des Moines that came as far as Chicago and St. Louis. There was also expected to be 3,000 people in attendance. 

New this year is a lounge and game room where shoppers can rest their feet, relax and enjoy board games provided by the Dealt Hand. Organizers say Market Day is a fun and friendly alternative to the retail frenzy associated with Black Friday and big businesses.

“Standing outside of Target isn't that much fun,” Market Day Director Dani Ausen said. “We wanted a family friendly alternative, where there is no standing out in the cold and there's no violence. And we also wanted to take back Black Friday and say ‘it's for us too.’ You don't have to be a giant store to have Black Friday. You can be a little guy, too.”

That is why Ausen says Market Day not only strives to benefit local shoppers, but local businesses as well. Vendors say events like these help bring traffic to their stores and remind people of the pros of shopping local, especially around Christmas. 

“I think there's nothing more meaningful than a handmade gift. It shows that you put thought into the gift, you're supporting your community and it can't get any better than that,” Morphew Designs vendor Heather Morphew Nelson said.

Though the event’s purpose was to cater to Black Friday shoppers, local businesses say they enjoy the event just as much. 

“Market Day is just awesome. Has some of the best vendors, it's just a really well organized show. It's the best of what Des Moines has to offer in terms of local art and indie crafts. It's great to come back here every year and set up shop with all the other great vendors,” Bosley Prints vendor James Bosley said. 

Ausen said it takes about half a year to plan this event with very long days. However, the response they get from customers and vendors makes the hustle well worth it.

“I had a woman come to me first thing this morning and say, ‘I’ve come here every year for the last five years and came to you and bought a Christmas ornament. It's my tradition.’  That's just so amazing. I love it, I love that.”

If you missed this event, there will be Merry Market Day pop up on Dec. 15 for last-minute gift shopping. You can find more details on their website at


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