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70 Vendors, Unique Gifts, Entertainment, Food, Free Toys for Kids, Santa Claus, Community Business Showcase & More

Halle-Bration, the city’s largest free holiday festival and market is coming Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to New Vision United Methodist Church, 4400 Reading Rd., 45229, in Bond Hill. This distinctive event is FREE and open to the public. No pre-registration is required.

This joyous celebration of the holiday season features a day of unique gift shopping at 70 vendor booths on two floors, great food concessions, free entertainment provided by at least seven acts, kids’ crafts and activities, a visit from Santa Claus, free toys for kids who attend and a Community Business Showcase, highlighting African American owned service businesses. More than 800 people are expected to attend.

“We call it Halle-Bration because it’s a hallelujah celebration of the holidays,” Lewis explained. “It’s a huge Christmas holiday marketplace and festival, with clothing, hats, handbags, homemade ornaments, unique gifts. We don’t call it a Christmas bazaar, because a bazaar is associated with small craft items. We screen our vendors and the merchandise they will offer, to make sure everything is very high quality. We don’t have duplicate booths either – so there are many types of distinctive items for sale.”

The main sponsors of the event are: New Vision UMC, the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the Collective Empowerment Group of Cincinnati. Our Gold Level Sponsor is MainSource Bank, and supporting sponsor is Elliott Management Group.

The purpose of the fifth annual event is to provide a family friendly community event celebrating the Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s holiday season, along with providing a showcase of Greater Cincinnati African American owned businesses in the Community Business Showcase.

The event started in 2013 with 30 vendors and about 200 people in attendance. It has continued to grow each year, as more families hear about it and want to attend, and more vendors hear it and want to come and display their wares for holiday shoppers. Now in its fifth year, the event boasts 70 vendors and 800 to 1,000 people are expected to attend.

“We started Halle-Bration because we wanted to give the community a free event where families could come out, celebrate the holiday season and have some fun,” said Kathye Lewis, co-founder and co-coordinator of Halle-Bration. “And we also wanted to provide a place where the community could buy unique holiday gifts and other goods and services from local African American artisans, merchants and entrepreneurs.”

Then in 2016, Lewis and her co-coordinator Miriam Kinard decided to expand the event even further – opening the second floor of the church, to showcase African American owned service oriented businesses, such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, accountants, financial advisors, marketing consultants and others. To facilitate this addition, New Vision now partners with the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce and the Collective Empowerment Group (CEG), a consortium of pastors and business owners.

“When we support Black owned businesses, we don’t just help the business owner. We help the entire African American community,” said Lewis, former Minority Supplier coordinator at Procter & Gamble and former Board Chair of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber. “Statistics show African American owned firms hire a higher percentage of African American employees – which reduces unemployment and strengthens the community’s economic base.”

It’s an event like no other in the city. Quakestry Catering is preparing the sumptuous Soul Food concessions. Vendors include: “Imagination Dolls,” handcrafted Black dolls by Debbie Hillson; custom made designer T-shirts created on the spot by Patty Speed; and baked delights like carrot cupcakes, pound cakes and New York style cheesecake from Carrots From the Earth and amazing butter yeast rolls and cinnamon sugar rolls from GiGi Rolls, and many more.

Also, the first 200 children will receive a toy when Santa Claus visits. There will be presentations on The Meaning of Christmas and The Meaning of Kwanzaa. And it’s all free.

No pre-registration needed. For vendor space or more information, call 513-961-4817 or visit

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