Holiday shopping season starts at packed Ligonier Country Market

Maria Dellera loves goats and found herself the perfect Christmas gift this year, albeit a

Maria Dellera loves goats and found herself the perfect Christmas gift this year, albeit a bit early.

Dellera, of Jeannette, was among the expected 6,000 who attended Saturday’s Ligonier Country Market Holiday Market, where gift items, food, beverage and holiday-themed merchandise was up for sale as an appetizer for the upcoming Christmas season.

Dallera found one plant in a pig-shaped pot for her friend and another, a goat, for herself.

“I’m living my best life. Might as well start now,” Dellera said of her Christmas shopping as she sorted through a series of small plants potted in various animal-shaped holders.

The Ligonier Country Market, fresh off its weekly run from May through the beginning of October, held its second outdoor Holiday Market after having moved the annual event outside in 2020 for coronavirus precautions.

Under Saturday’s sun-drenched skies with the fall colors on trees off in the distance, shoppers moved from stall to stall where about 130 vendors sold their wares.

Kari Frei, the country market’s executive director, said the event continues to be a success.

“It kicks off the holiday season. People need to start their holiday shopping, so why not here,” Frei said. “I am always amazed at how many of our vendors sell out.”

Traffic heading into Ligonier along Route 30 was backed up for miles as folks streamed into the small borough. Ligonier Assistant Police Chief Mike Matrunics said traffic control measures were enacted to ensure pedestrians’ safety.

Once inside the market, shoppers could choose among holiday crafts as well as a myriad of food and drink.

Frei said each vendor was required to sell hand-crafted items.

“All of the vendors had to make it, bake it or grow it,” Frei said. “Every vendor goes through a juried review to make sure.”

Ida Saylor, along with daughter Renee and their 2-year-old niece, River, traveled from Somerset County to shop.

“We’re here for a little Christmas shopping,” Saylor said. “We’re looking for unique gifts, had a lot of food.”

Cindy Fredick-Fulton, of Greens and Grazers in Strongstown, Somerset County, said her Christmas wreaths sold well Saturday as a fundraiser for a therapeutic equestrian riding program.

“People wanted to know if they would last,” Fredick-Fulton said. “They’re OK until February.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .