The Van Meter Winter Market has grown over the past seven years, from being hosted at Van Meter Junior-Senior High School, before its recent renovation, to now being hosted in the Veterans Reception Center and still having to turn vendors away.

The Winter Market, which was held on Saturday, Dec. 2 this year, hosted 48 vendors selling anything from crafts to foods and from beauty products to Van Meter sports clothing. The event was full this year and event coordinator, Holly Adams said that she even had to turn away about 20 vendors.

Holly, who was at the event selling jelly with Van Meter Mayor, Allan Adams, is also the director of the Van Meter Farmers Market, a role that has helped in planning the Winter Market every year.

“We have such great vendors for our Farmer’s Market that we wanted to be able to bring them to the community before Christmas,” Holly said. “The whole point is being able to bring everybody’s talents to the community… give them a place to showcase and share their talents with the community.”

Holly said that this year, vendors started contacting her, wanting to be involved in this year’s Winter Market, as early as August, which resulted in the need to turn away 20 vendors as space was limited. She said that the turnout “couldn’t be better” and that it was the kind of turnout she was expecting.

“Because of the interest that the community has had this year, this is what I was expecting and this is definitely bigger… every year we just keep growing,” Holly said.

While they haven’t talked about specific plans yet, there have been discussions about possibly finding a bigger venue for next year’s Winter Market.

The event also featured a cookie walk, run by the Van Meter American Legion Auxiliary, which allowed visitors to walk down the table and pick out cookies to take home with them in a box. Also, the Van Meter Fire Department hosted its annual Chili Feed during the event and children were able to sit on Santa Claus’s lap and get their picture taken.

The event was held the next day after the second annual Sips and Snacks event, which allowed visitors to take a tour around town to local businesses where they could some food and beverages before enjoying live music at the Veterans Reception Center. The tours started between 4:30-7 p.m. with a raffle drawing at 7:45 and the live music starting at 8 p.m.