On Sunday, November 20, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will open the doors to its Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center for a very special annual event: the Holiday Artists’ Market. For the sixth consecutive year, the nonprofit youth organization will host community artisans, craftspeople, chefs and bakers as they make their wares available to the public in festive holiday environment.
What’s more, the Holiday Artists’ Market officially will kick off CRYP’s annual “Festival of Trees.” Up to 30 organizations are welcome to decorate holiday trees at Cokata Wiconi; the trees will remain on display throughout the holiday season.
“We’re going to have free hot cocoa and apple cider at the Holiday Artists’ Market to commemorate the Festival of Trees opening day,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “We’ll also be hosting a rummage sale, with all proceeds to benefit this year’s Christmas Toy Drive.”
The 6th annual Holiday Artists’ Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 20. Prospective vendors are encouraged to contact CRYP as soon as possible to reserve their tables.
“For $10, you’ll have your own table in the marketplace,” Eagle Hunter said. “We are limiting food vendors, so if you are interested in selling food items or baked goods, please contact us right away at (606) 964-8200.”
Table fees also will benefit CRYP’s Christmas Toy Drive, which seeks to serve more than 1,600 children in 20 communities across the 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. Vendors keep all their own proceeds.
For members of the community, the Holiday Artists Market once again will provide a festive opportunity to purchase holiday treats and gifts, and to view the eagerly anticipated Festival of Trees exhibition. The Keya Cafe will be open to the public throughout market day, with special menu items and baked goods, and CRYP staff will be taking orders for holiday goodie boxes.
Good news for the youngest community members: CRYP is expecting a very special guest at this year’s Holiday Artists’ Market. Santa Claus himself will spend the afternoon at Cokata Wiconi, meeting children and posing for photographs. A Santa photo package is available for just $7; families may pick up their photos at Cokata Wiconi the following week.
“We named our teen center Cokata Wiconi because we’ve always intended for it to be a real center of community life—a meaningful gathering place for all ages,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We look forward to our Holiday Artists’ Market every year, because it’s the perfect opportunity for our friends, family, and neighbors to come together, share their homemade goods, celebrate the joy of the holiday season, and earn a little extra income in the process.”
It’s also a welcome respite for CRYP staff and volunteers, who work around the clock for weeks as they prepare to bring Christmas to hundreds of Cheyenne River families in the annual CRYP Christmas Toy Drive. For more information about this year’s toy drive efforts and how you can help, click here.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.