Nov 8, 2005: Celebrate Diversity at New Holiday Market


Washington, DC, November 8, 2005-- The first festive outdoor seasonal market in the Nation’s Capitol, "DowntownDC: Holiday Market," will open Thursday, December 1 at 11th & H Streets, NW, Diverse Markets Management, a new company formed by people long associated with The Flea Market at Eastern Market, announced today.

"This demonstration market will celebrate both the product and exhibitor diversity that we have supported for more than 20 years at Eastern Market," said Tom Rall, manager of the popular Capitol Hill flea market and a founding partner of Diverse Markets Management, a limited liability corporation established recently in the District of Columbia.

"Outdoor holiday markets are popular during winter in many countries throughout the Northern Hemisphere," Rall continued, "and for years both our customers and our exhibitors have urged us to establish something similar here."

"So, a group of us decided this was a good time to take the risk," Rall said. "Many of our Eastern Market exhibitors have already signed up to show at the new market", which will operate 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, December 1-December 18 and continue Monday, Dec. 19 through Wednesday, December 21. "And today's announcement is being forwarded to the nearly 600 exhibitors already on our Eastern Market waiting list."

The company is hopeful that the full capacity of 150 exhibitors will be reached at some point during the short season. As an incentive to sign up early, tents and decorative lighting will be provided to the first 50 exhibitors, "which we expect to be our minimum," he said.

Michael Berman, Eastern Market artist, arts activist, and owner and manager of DC art studio projects, was hired by Rall last winter to develop new markets and now heads the new corporation. "Mike has been working to create a new market for months," Rall exclaimed. "I have no doubt he'll produce a show that will become a national model."

"We're going to take the seasonal weekend mix popular at Eastern Market and improve upon it," Berman promised. "We'll have all those elements - Christmas trees, seasonal produce, and great gifts, such as hand-crafted jewelry, local art, and products and images from around the world - add weekday and nighttime hours to engage the downtown office and evening crowd, food prepared both on and off site, and entertainment. Plus, we are reaching out to a broad array of exhibitors, food purveyors, and performers, from both the neighborhood and throughout the city and beyond. This will be a feast for not just the eyes, but all the senses.

"It will be a fun place to shop and even more accessible, since not only is the new location near Metro Center but also adjacent to a large parking lot, which we don't have at Eastern Market," Berman concluded.

More information, including exhibitor applications, is available at the company’s website,

Additional partners in the new company are Avner Ofer, Vernon Burnett, and William "Rudy" Coates.

Ofer, a photographer, Eastern Market exhibitor, and Brookland resident, is the founder and director of Western Market - a juried arts and crafts market in Adams Morgan started in 2004. He was also the director for Arts on Belmont - Adams Morgan Day Festival 2005.

Burnett has been assistant manager of The Flea Market at Eastern Market since 1991 and is responsible for reservations, exhibitor relations, space assignments, database management and banking.

Coates is a lifelong DC resident who has worked with Rall in many capacities off and on since the 1980's and since 1999 as assistant manager of The Flea Market at Eastern Market. He manages on-site space assignments, reservations, and maintenance.

Rall said today's announcement was designed primarily as a recruitment tool for new exhibitors since the time is so short. "We expect an official announcement will be made soon by agencies with which we are cooperating in the demonstration project," he said.