The Vancouver Christmas Market returns to Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza next week, bringing German beer and bratwurst to a corner of downtown quite familiar with the taste of Bavaria and the look of lederhosen.
The Christmas Market is now in its fifth year downtown, and the plaza just last month hosted Oktoberfest, as well. (For a hoppy, sometimes bitter (in a good way) blog of the event, read on here.)
“This authentic German Christmas Market creates the perfect atmosphere to mix and mingle with friends and family, take in a quick drink after work or business lunch, and take in a wide variety of cultural activities and entertainment events,” reads the Market’s website.
“During your visits to the Christmas Market you’ll experience our mix of traditional food and beverage, as well as our selection of authentic wood carvings and toys, knitted goods, nutcrackers, pottery and other unique gifts.”
Local artists will perform at the X-Mas Factor Singing Competition, and the Market will also host the Santa Claus Parade and “everyone’s favourite attraction, the carousel”.
Food vendors will include Zotter’s Chocolate Factor, Das Schnitzehaus, Maples Sugar Shack, Ukrainian Crepes & Borsch, and Chef Ismail’s Turkish Gourmet, as well as BeaverTails pastry shop and the Krombacher beer haus.
(A full list of beer and food vendors can be found here, on VancouverChristmasMarket.com)
Gift vendors (you know, shops) will include Polish Handcrafts, Kathe Wohlahrt, and The Woodman – Finest Wooden Handcrafts.
*The Vancouver Christmas Market kicks off on November 22 and will run until Christmas Eve, December 24, 2014. It operates every day from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m., but will close early at 6 p.m. on the 24th.
Tickets are on-sale online and can be bought in person – they start at $3 for Youth and $7 for General Admission, with family packs available for $17. The ‘Christmas’ combo costs $20 and the VIP package rings in at $40.
The Market aims to be a Canadian continuation of a centuries-old holiday tradition in Germany and other central European countries – Vienna, for example, is also famous for its Christmas markets and hot beverage-based family gatherings.
“Seasonal markets have been held in Germany year-round as a tradition for over 700 years,” reads the Market’s website, under ‘History of German Christkindlmarkt’.
“Christmas markets have always been an anticipated event, as they bring light and laughter to a cold, dark season… Each town had a unique market. Local tradesmen lined the streets and sold their wares at the market displaying distinct regional characteristics, which gave each market an individual flavour. Food and beverages served were produced in the region, so each town’s offerings were a little different.”
According to the event’s website, the first major North American German Christmas market was held in Chicago in 1995, and attendance has since grown to annually top a million people.
VIDEO: Rick Steves’ European Christmas, Part 6 – Germany