WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Christmas is in the time of coronavirus. Some of the biggest holiday markets in New York City canceled this year. But, one northern suburb decided to double down with its most expansive holiday market ever.

Rockland Cider Works is serving up handcrafted Christmas spirit. It’s one of 40 vendors at the expanded holiday market in downtown White Plains.

“I think that people need something. The Christmas season gives them hope,” Rockland Cider Works co-owner Elisabeth Van Houten told CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday.


Given the Grinch of a year we’ve been through, Mayor Tom Roach said the city almost canceled the holiday market.

“It was basically not going to happen and then it came back to life,” Roach said.

After hearing from shoppers.

“They valued the ability to go shopping outside. And we thought maybe we should do it,” Roach said. “So we came back with a new model.”

Featuring individual retail chalets, in rows arranged back-to-back to avoid a crowded central aisle.


Shopper Diane Taylor told CBS2 she was enjoying the variety, adding “A lot of selections! Nice, nice.”

White Plains was able to attract many high-quality vendors who normally would be at holiday markets in New York City, canceled this year due to COVID.

“Normally during the holidays I’m in Grand Central….” jewelry maker Melissa Fego said, adding many clients have told her they can’t wait to visit the market and see what she’s offering this season.

“People are just so happy to get back to some normal life,” said Fego.

“I think we need something festive this year, because it definitely hasn’t been very bright,” said Liz Schwack of Roadie Couture.

Protocols, including mandatory mask wearing, are in place to protect shoppers and vendors.

“I am so excited. We’ve done everything we can to make this very safe,” said jewelry maker Melissa Panszi-Riebe. “I hope to see people. It’s going to be so nice to interact with people in person and not on Zoom call.”

Still, there are many reminders it’s a holiday season unlike any other, including “mask chains” to accessorize your safety measures.