Holidaze holiday-themed pop-up bar won’t return in 2022

Holidaze / Staff photo

A local holiday-themed pop-up bar that has brightened the season the last few years won’t return in 2022.

Holidaze, the Christmas-themed bar that has been open for the holidays in Fayetteville since 2019 at locations on Center Street, Block Avenue, and in the Walton Arts Center’s Rose Garden, will leave its Santa hat on the hook this year.

Locals behind the project – Hannah Withers, Ben Gitchel, Richard Gathright, and Cjay Crespo – said that the project quickly became a lot bigger than they intended.

“It started with this fun little way to give back to our community, and in 24 months it morphed into this crazy thing that gave us 25 employees, lots of contracts, infrastructure, three months of incredible amounts of work, and a lot of celebratory late nights,” the partners said in a statement issued this week.

Since the project began, the holiday pop-up donated thousands to local charities and non-profits. The decision to shelve the project for this year didn’t come lightly, however, after a few years making a busy time of year even busier, it was time for a break.

Organizers said they are not sure if the decision to pause the project is permanent, or if it’s just for this year. They did say they aren’t getting rid of their vintage Santa collection any time soon.

“We’ve given back over $110,000 in two years time, and have decided that we’d like to take back our own holidays, keep the vintage holiday stuff in storage this year, and enjoy the season with our families,” according to the statement.

The group decided to make the announcement as soon as possible, so those who have relied on the bar as a place for holiday parties, company gatherings, and other purposes the last few years can plan accordingly.

“We’ve been receiving emails about weddings, reservations, and non-profits who would like to be our recipients since April,” they said. “We want to thank Fayetteville and the surrounding area for its resounding support of us, and our friends at Walton Art Center (and many others) for supporting us during COVID-19. We’re incredibly privileged to have been able to support organizations we love in our community, and employ so many creatives and hospitality folks. And we feel honored to have been able to work on this project for the last few years.”