Banding together for the holidays

Beloved Austin holiday bazaar rewraps 2021 affair into al fresco event

Beloved Austin holiday bazaar rewraps 2021 affair into al fresco event

Shinyribs
Shinyribs is one of several local bands taking to the Armadillo Bazaar Outside stage with festive tunes. Courtesy of Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

As Austinites continue to navigate the new normal of this bizzarro world we’re now living in, one cherished local holiday event is scampering to create a new rendition of an old Austin tradition this season. 

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, the must-attend fine-art shopping and festive live-music event that has brought joy to Austin during the holidays for 45 seasons, announced Monday, October 25 that it is embracing the great outdoors this year.

Armadillo Bazaar Outside, as the revamped event is being dubbed, will still offer locals and visitors the opportunity to purchase art and gifts while enjoying live music from some of the city’s most noted performers — but outdoors during an in-person event December 17-19.

After the pandemic canceled the in-person affair in 2020, event organizers said earlier this year they would host the bazaar in person and with an expanded footprint at the Palmer Events Center December 15-24. But safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has had them pivot to shortening the affair to three days and moving all event experiences to the center’s outdoor grounds for an open-air holiday fair.

“Through the pandemic, we all hoped to return to an in-person affair this year. In June, we were confident enough to announce our return date, even committing to a larger footprint at the Palmer Events Center. However, we discovered our 10-day, indoor format became a challenge for this current climate,” says executive producer Bruce Willenzik. “We worked hard to find an answer for how to gather our extended Armadillo family together while bringing high-quality fine art to the Austin community. After seeing how well outdoor shows were working for the artists, we further explored this option for Armadillo.”

Willenzik and his fellow organizers note Armadillo Bazaar Outside will continue to offer an elevated shopping experience and the opportunity to meet and engage with local and visiting artists while cheerfully delighting in the spirited sounds of the bazaar’s featured musicians.

More than 100 artists, many from Texas, and more than 30 new exhibitors, will show their artful wares at Armadillo Bazaar Outside, with shoppers able to score affordable masterpieces and timeless pieces of art, as well as quirky and unique treasures that can only be found at the holiday event. A full lineup of artists can be found here.

Of course, the joyous live music is just as much of a draw as the art, and, as usual, Armadillo Bazaar Outside plans to unwrap a festive lineup of artists for this year’s event, including Austin faves Ruthie Foster, Shinyribs, Gina Chavez, Jackie Venson, Tomar and the FCs, and Carolyn Wonderland with Shelley King. Two bands will play 45-minute sets each day, with shows at 11 am and 2:30 pm. The set times can be found here.

Armadillo Bazaar Outside will welcome shoppers December 17-19 from 10 am-5:30 pm daily on the grounds of the Palmer Events Center, at 900 Barton Springs Rd. Single-day entry tickets are $10 for adults and children 12 and younger get free admission. Tickets are available at the door via a cashless box office. They’re also now available for purchase at armadillobazaar.com/tickets.

Organizers will provide updated COVID-19 safety information and protocols based on City of Austin and CDC guidelines closer to the event.