'Phoestivus' celebrates holiday season, local businesses

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Seinfeld may have popularized the holiday, but Phoenix has put it on the map.

"Festivus" was introduced in a 1997 episode of the sitcom as a nonreligious, noncommercial alternative to Christmas, Hanukkah and other winter holidays.

The fourth annual "Phoestivus" event kicked off Wednesday night at the Phoenix Public Market downtown.

The Phoenix version of Festivus featured holiday favorites such as an aluminum pole, an airing of grievances, and "pheats" of strength.

However, the event is more than a seasonal parody; it's a celebration of the local community.

“The first year, we had 30 vendors and we were one night," said Phoestivus founder Ken Clark."Now we’re two nights, 100 vendors, 14 food trucks, a beer garden, and a beer named after us. So we’re growing slowly every year. We'll become an institution and we'll take over the world."

It's a lofty goal, but one with growing support from the hundreds of shoppers who attended the first week of Phoestivus.

Bryan Lemon, who attended the event Wednesday, said he enjoyed the vendors' energy and creativity.

“A lot of these are small businesses, " he said. "It's fun to see them come out, and everyone come together to support them."

One shopper even used the occasion to propose to his girlfriend.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Phoenix Public Market, a program of the Community Food Connections nonprofit.

Phoestivus returns Dec. 18 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.