STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
The Christmas Village in Philadelphia, presented by NRG, is back to where it originally was from 2008-2011 — City Hall.
The reason for the move is the construction underway to improve LOVE Park. According to Kory Aversa, the publicist for the traditional, open-air, German-style market, Christmas Village is expected to move back to LOVE Park next November. In an ironic twist, he said, the reason the market moved from City Hall to LOVE Park in the first place was because of renovations being done to City Hall.
What’s happening this year at Christmas Village
One of the noticeable additions this season is a carousel. Rides cost $3. Also, dogs are welcome to participate in photos with Santa. Christmas Village offers a dog fuel station with treats from vendor Kylie’s Canine Treats — one of 80 international and local merchants and artists operating out of decorated tents and wooden huts.
Another addition is HoHo Happy Hour 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, with special deals on food and drinks from Chaddsford Winery and German Grill, plus a stage program. Different themes each week include Philadelphia Traditions, and German Night, which will feature a bratwurst eating contest.
Located in the City Hall Courtyard (where Broad and Market streets intersect) and Northern Apron at 1400 John F. Kennedy Blvd., it blends right into the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market in Dilworth Park on South 15th Street on the west side of City Hall. That means even more gifts for everyone on your Santa list from artisans, crafters and designers from the greater Philadelphian area, such as ornaments, toys, apparel, jewelry, decorations, home goods and artwork. You know you’re in the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market section because there’s a large Christmas tree, an ice skating rink, an indoor cafe and a winter garden by the Center City District.
Admission is free — with pay-as-you-go food, drink and shopping — and among the many holiday sights and sounds are twinkling lights, festive decorations, children’s activities and a paper ornament Wish Wall in conjunction with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Live entertainment includes area choirs, orchestras and bands. Check what’s happening the day you plan to go at www.philachristmas.com/events.html. Other events during the Christmas Village in Philadelphia’s run include kid attractions on weekends, themed weekends and Tuesday or Thursday wine tasting tours that start at the Chaddsford Winery booth.
The Christmas Village in Philadelphia is for foodies — and for those who are shopping for food gifts for them — with warm mulled wine or hot chocolate in Christmas Village collector’s mugs; bratwurst; schnitzel; fries; tart German potato salad served with a sweet mustard; soft pretzels; decadent Belgian waffle desserts from the Walking Waffle; a thick salami jerky called landjäger; döner kebab — a gyro-like German specialty that was created by a Turkish immigrant; potato pancakes served with sour cream, applesauce and cinnamon; and lots more. On Tuesdays, there are food and drink specials just for students.
Market hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, which is the final day the village will be open for the season.
Stay on top of the jollity by following @philachristmas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat; or visit www.philachristmas.com.
To the north, Bethlehem’s 24th annual Christkindlmarkt continues Dec. 8-11 and 15-18 at the PNC Plaza at SteelStacks, 645 E. First St., Bethlehem.
Also boasting old-world charm, wurst, strudel, lebkuchen and Käthe Wohlfahrt merchandise, this Christmas City seasonal attraction has expanded from two to four tents, with close to 150 vendors each weekend offering thousands of gift ideas like nutcrackers, ornaments, official Bethlehem Steel merchandise and other collectables.
Each tent will have its own holiday theme, with St. Nicholas moving to the new Bavarian Christmas Village Tent.
The outdoor courtyard adds a new glass-window tent, where you can watch resident glass artists at work. The fun also includes live holiday music, holiday crafts for kids at the new Crayola Creativity Station, ice sculpting demonstrations and make-your-own blown-glass ornament sessions.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturdays. Tickets are $9 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 6-12, free for ages 5 and under. For more information, visit www.christmascity.org.
Also, put on your Christmas sweater, throw on your boots and bring the children and grandchildren to Christkindlmarkt for “Breakfast with St. Nicholas” at 9 a.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Tickets are $18.95 for adults, $15.95 for children, $9.95 for children 2 and under, and are on sale at www.christmascity.org and (610) 332-3378. Breakfast features eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon and more. Guests can commemorate the occasion by having a free 5×7 photo taken with St. Nick before participating in arts and crafts and enjoying a goodie bag filled with treats, including items from Just Born Quality Confections and Crayola. Following the breakfast, guests can also enjoy free admission to Christkindlmarkt.