Holiday markets, activities abound on Whidbey

— Created November 24, 2021 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

Holiday markets and events are back! With a few health and safety modifications, Whidbey Island residents are able to once again visit local markets for a little shopping or attend holiday events.

One such market making a return this year is the Greenbank Farm Holiday Market. This year’s event will take place this Saturday and Dec. 4 and is being organized by Tammy Murphy of Whidbey Island Markets.

“Due to COVID, the Port of Coupeville, which normally runs the holiday market, didn’t have the bandwidth to do so this year, so I jumped in to run it myself, with the partnership of Hollie [Swanson] of the wine shop, because we both love it so much,” she explained. “I’m personally really looking forward to seeing our island neighbors out there, in person for the holidays, and supporting local artists, craftspeople and shops.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to have this event take place where it’s been celebrated for many, many years in the past,” said Chris Michalopoulos, executive director of the Port of Coupeville, which runs Greenbank Farm. “Having to take a break due to COVID was difficult, but I am thankful Tammy and our wonderful volunteers have brought this tradition back.”

The market will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, but attendance will be limited to just 100 people from 11-11:30 a.m., for those who want to shop, but are not yet ready to be part of larger crowds.

“We will be requiring masks of everyone, will have constant air exchange and some HEPA filters, but for those who would feel better with a little extra safety, a free ticket will be required to attend the market during that time,” Murphy said. “The ticket is available at We’ll allow everyone else starting at 11:30 a.m.”

Murphy said she tried to choose a variety of local vendors to offer shoppers a vast array of local, handmade items.

“Items will run the gamut, from local honey, fudge and hand-caught fish, to wooden puzzles using the artist’s photography, sea glass jewelry, upcycled fashion, organic body and bath products, bird feeders, hand-embroidered holiday cards…it’s a great cross-section of what Whidbey has to offer,” she said. “There will also be booths for the Greenbank Garden Club and for Sound Water Stewards. The vendors on the 27th and the vendors on the 4th will be different, so we encourage people to come out both dates. The response from vendors was great, and I’m very excited to have them.”

Another familiar face will be back at the Greenbank Farm Holiday Market as well – he’s known as Santa David around these parts. Santa will be at the market from noon to 2:30 p.m. both days, and he will also be there for the traditional tractor lighting this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Because Santa comes in contact with a lot of people around this time of year, organizers are making a few modifications in how visits with the jolly old elf will be conducted.

“Tammy Murphy and I have settled on creating an exclusive ‘North Pole’ environment (free of vendors) in the loft that will provide maximum interaction with Santa’s visitors along with minimal exposure to possible transmission of any infectious microbes that may be lurking about,” Santa David explained. “Our intention is to provide children with an opportunity to create their own tree ornaments that they can hang on the tree in the barn while getting pictures taken with Santa and/or also take them home for their own tree.”

Santa said there will very likely be some tasty treats on hand for visitors to enjoy as well and he said he is very happy he will be able to see his young visitors in person this year after the pandemic caused so much disappointment in 2020.

“As for missing the event last year, I can only say it was very disappointing to not appear at all,” he said. “I am certain that there were countless children who I have been seeing these past 14 years who must have been disappointed as well.”

There are other holiday markets to be found around Whidbey this weekend as well, such as Whidbey Farm and Market on Monroe Landing Road in Oak Harbor, which will be offering free Santa photos from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Regular market hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Monday. (

Don’t miss Country Christmas at the Fair going on at the Island County Fairgrounds in Langley Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will continue Dec. 3-5 as well. The event is free and will feature a variety of food and vendors. (

There will also be a holiday market at Mutiny Bay Blues Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., at the corner of Cameron Road and Hwy. 525 in Freeland. Local farmers will be selling food to help make delicious meals during the holiday season and vendors will be there with great gifts and stocking stuffers for purchase. There will be complimentary coffee, cocoa and s’mores, with donations accepted to benefit Whidbey Island Nourishes, which provides meals for families on South Whidbey. (

Gather up the kids – those with or without fur – and head to the Pacific Northwest Naval Air Museum in Oak Harbor from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday for free photos with Santa. The event is open to the public and admission to the museum is free for all adults who are accompanied by a child. (

Oak Harbor Playtown will be offering photos with Santa this Saturday, as well as Dec. 4, 11, 18-19, by appointment, from noon to 6 p.m. each of those days. Cost is $20 and includes a photo, candy cane, coupon for a free day pass signed by Santa and hot chocolate with marshmallows. Half the cost will be donated to your choice of one of four Whidbey Island organizations: Mother Mentors, WAIF, Ryan’s House or Island Angels. Schedule appointments by messaging Playtown on Facebook or stopping by its location at 390 NE Midway Blvd. in Oak Harbor. (

There are lots more activities and markets to come – look for more information in next week’s issue of Whidbey Weekly.