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Centre County residents attend first open-air winter market ahead of holidays

Dozens of people enjoy a night under the lights. (WJAC)

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Despite it being about 28 degrees, dozens of people have been coming through this area to enjoy a night under the lights.

"It's the perfect, wintery kind of day, and we just wanted to go out and do something, and markets are kind of the best things to do," State College resident Ren Henning said.

As the sun falls, the lights go bright for the first under-the-lights market Saturday.

The event along the Bellefonte Waterfront Walk helps raise money for Downtown Bellefonte Inc.

"Events like these are the kind of events that people are craving,” Downtown Bellefonte Inc. board member Ellen Matis said. “So not even just the people that live here, but the people that come and visit Bellefonte. We already have a lot of great events that happen in Bellefonte, so this is just something that's going to be supplemental to it."

Despite this being the first open-air market, organizers have received a lot of support.

Officials say the winter market is a spinoff of another under-the-lights event earlier this year.

It highlighted over 15 local businesses.

"We listened and we felt like it was important to include Bellefonte-centric and Bellefonte local vendors,” Bellefonte Under the Lights Committee member Dana Donofrio said. “So, everyone at our market is your neighbor."

Local vendors, like Flavia Barger and her business partner, who own Brazilian Munchies.

"It's something different, and in central Pennsylvania, we don’t have too much Brazilian food around," Barger said.

Barger says she loves these types of events. It helps introduce Brazilian food and culture to people, and it really brings money and awareness for local businesses.

"We are so excited,” Barger said. “Like, it's our first winter, real winter event with the truck, and we are expecting a lot of people."

It's not just the vendors who enjoy it, one resident says. It's the perfect event for the holidays.

"I love it. It's (the) holiday. Happy holidays, it's what it's all about,” Henning said. “Just going out with friends and talking to vendors."

Organizers emphasize this is the first time they've done this, so they started out small, but they hope this can become a tradition.

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