Black holiday market comes to Durham

Asha Lapps is an organizer of the Black Queens of Durham Holiday Pop-Up market. Photo credit: Courtesy of Asha Lapps

Local black businesses from Durham Region are taking part in the third annual Black Queens of Durham Holiday Pop-Up market Sunday.

There will be more than 30 vendors at the Ajax Community Centre (ACC) on Dec 8.

“There wasn’t anything like this happening in Durham, so we decided to fill the niche,” says Asha Lapps, one of the organizers of the event. “Most of the vendors are either African or Caribbean-Canadian.

“The demographic is changing and people don’t realize that you still need to also serve the changing demographic,” say Lapps.

The Holiday Pop-Up is in the HMS Room at the ACC. It starts at noon and goes till 6 p.m. The event is free.

“I live in Durham, grew up in Durham, I know what it was like when I was younger to be like the only black kid in my class. And I mean luckily the demographic is changing,” says Lapps.

“But we are still not quite there yet, so we have to make something that reflects and serves us in the community.”

There are a variety of vendors from skincare, clothing, jewelry, food, music, entertainment and black-owned businesses that supply different services.

This community event is open to “everyone,” to come enjoy.

“Yes, they can come shop, but they can also sit down, eat, socialize, bring the kids and enjoy the music and entertainment,” says Lapps.

There will be a DJ and dancers from Afiwi Groove Dance School in Ajax specializing in African and Caribbean dance.

Books by black authors will be available from a company called Notability.

Lapps says this pop-up Christmas market is an opportunity to expose these kinds of black businesses in a different way. She explains a lot of the items for sale at the market may not be available elsewhere.

She adds some of the vendors are returning to the market but there are some fresh faces.

Lapps says during the Christmas season there are local farmers’ markets and events all over the region, but there aren’t any that reflect the black culture.

“People are just excited to get a chance to come.”