Byline: Braden Harper/Reporter
GLENPOOL, Oklahoma – December begins the countdown to the holidays, a time when shoppers need to start making a game plan to find the right gift for everyone on their list. Autumn Star Catering provided an opportunity to shop local and shop Indigenous with a Christmas Market Dec 3. The market featured local art vendors, music and Indian tacos.
Tricia Fields (Muscogee) is the owner of Autumn Star Catering, a small business that caters traditional Native American foods across Indian Country. Fields said the Glenpool Christmas market was quite popular and kept her staff busy. The event took a lot of preparation and teamwork in order to pull it off successfully. However, Fields said the end result was worth it.
“It’s a blessing, it’s a stressful blessing but I’d rather be too busy than not busy,” Fields said.
The Christmas market is a big hit because they bring people together with loved ones. According to Fields it is something that people wait for in anticipation year round.
“People have been excited to see what items are for sale, to see friends and family,” Fields said. “I’ve had some people say it’s like a homecoming.”
What makes the Christmas Market special are the deep connections among the organizers, vendors and customers. Some vendors, Fields is either related to or knows personally. Many described the event as having a “good vibe”, one that could be attributed to the family friendly atmosphere. Many of the vendors are Christmas market veterans, for others it was their first time.
One of those first time Christmas market vendors was Two Feathers Beadwork, a small business operated by Jennifer Necochea (Muscogee) and her daughters. The Two Feathers booth was notable for its beaded Christmas bulb ornaments, a design Necochea has been beading for ten years. The business brings her family together around the holiday season.
“We just get together and do a normal Christmas, we do a lot of bead work around this time, particularly Christmas bulbs,” Necochea said.
For Necochea, like many other vendors, the holiday season is a busy time where market patrons want to find something for their loved ones. The Underwood/Blaylock family were some of the many patrons roaming around the market looking to see what it had to offer. Leni Underwood (Chickasaw) was particularly impressed by the market’s selection.
“I didn’t think I was going to buy anything,” Leni Underwood said. “But I ended up coming back with less money than I expected.”
One of the items Leni Underwood purchased was a white feather that her mother, Shannon Underwood fastened in her hair.
“We like to come here and see the same, see what other people are doing, it’s always nice to see them and get ideas and support your local Native American tribes.” Shannon Underwood said.
The Christmas markets would not be possible without the interest and patronage of the community. Even just sharing information about the event went a long way for Fields.
“I couldn’t make this event successful without community support from everyone showing up and inviting someone and telling them about it,” Fields said. “Just spending their dollars here, supporting local artists and supporting local native artists and businesses.”
Autumn Star Catering’s Tulsa Christmas Market is scheduled for Dec. 10 from 10AM-5PM at the Will Rogers Methodist Church. Admission will cost one dollar and will also feature pop-up shops, live music and a fashion show.