Santa will be present with presents at the Flea Off Holiday Bazaar. | Courtesy of Flea Off Market

Although the monthly Flea Off Market thrives outdoors in the NuLu neighborhood and attracts hundreds of vendors and thousands of shoppers, its annual Holiday Bazaar is a different beast altogether. 

The challenge for organizers has been to find a space large enough for 300-plus vendors, plus be centrally located near downtown and have heat.

After several years of hopping around town, the sixth annual Holiday Bazaar will take place inside the newly renovated Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16. 

Flea Off staff member Zach Bramel tells Insider that once they looked at the new space inside KICC, they knew it would be the perfect fit. 

“It’s really hard to find a rental space this big in central Louisville,” he says. “We want to keep the Flea Off Market urban, and we’ve been searching for 50,000 square feet for a while. When we toured KICC, it solved all the problems: ample space, central location, lovely windows, comfortable halls, great amenities and heat. We’ve had some chilly events, so heat’s a big plus.”

This will be the biggest Holiday Bazaar yet, with more than 300 vendors confirmed, says Bramel, and many of them are local artists, makers, craftspeople, and the like. There also will be free photos with Santa, live music, food and drink, and “The Nutcracker” performed by a children’s ballet troupe. 

Bramel estimates that they usually get about 10,000 attendees each Holiday Bazaar, and they hope to get even more this year. He personally is looking forward to checking out new vendors and also the music. 

“There are always a few surprising new vendors who knock me out and who I’ve never before seen. So I’m looking forward to that,” he says. “But I am probably most looking forward to the performances. I think they will be really fun in those wide-open, windowed hallways overlooking downtown Louisville.”

The Holiday Bazaar is free to attend and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. The schedule of performers is below. 

Saturday, Dec. 15

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Steve Cooley & Co.
  • noon to 2 p.m. — Zim Marim
  • 1 to 3 p.m. — Appalatin
  • 3 to 5 p.m. — Santa photos

Sunday, Dec. 16

  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Santa photos
  • 11 a.m. and noon — “The Nutcracker”
  • noon to 2 p.m. — Britton Patrick Morgan & Friends
  • 2 to 4 p.m. — Kentucky Vocal Union
  • 4 to 6 p.m. — Squeeze-bot

And while we’re talking about holiday shopping, we discovered two more opportunities to get those gifts this weekend. 

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage was renovated in 2009. | Courtesy KCAAH

The West Louisville Holiday Festival also is free and will be held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15. This event features photos with Santa, a toy workshop, dessert buffet, health screenings and a marketplace with local vendors. 

We hear there also will be live holiday music and prizes given out every 15 minutes, including turkeys, hams and gift cards, oh my! 

 *  *  *

And over near the border of Jefferson and Oldham counties, there’s a German-style Christmas Market going on at 3rd Turn Brewings’s Oldham Gardens on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15.

The free event runs from 4 to 10 p.m. each day and features local vendors, 3rd Turn beers and holiday treats and food. 

The Oldham Gardens are quite stunning to see, if you’ve never been, and the market will be located in the covered outdoor event space. It’s located near the Kentucky Artisan Distillery and Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."