A cherished German yuletide tradition — the “Christkindlesmarkt” shopping market — will be joining the many Downtown Pittsburgh holiday attractions this year.
The Pittsburgh Holiday Market — with its expected 20 to 25 creative vendors in European-style wooden chalets set in Market Square — will open Nov. 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and continue through Dec. 23 during the busiest time of the Christmas shopping season. The heated chalets, illuminated with white lights and decorated with holly, will bring Old World German charm from across the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s only March, but what a cool thing for Pittsburghers to anticipate, says Jeremy Waldrup, president of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, which is creating the market.
“We have to kind of shake ourselves. Yes, Christmas is months and months away, but this is a big event,” he says. “We’re anxious to get started and really excited to bring it to Pittsburgh.”
Inspiration for the Pittsburgh Holiday Market came from the original “Christkindlesmarkt” in Nuremberg, Germany, where the event’s motto is “Where the Christ Child is at home.” That event started in 1575. Chicago, Vancouver and some other cities do their version of the German tradition, which further encouraged Pittsburgh officials to start their “Christkindlesmarkt,” Waldrup says.
The markets are about “having a community focal point during the holiday season that allows friends to meet up and have a great evening,” he says. “Market Square is such a unique and inviting place. We think that this holiday market will make it an even better destination.”
National and international vendors will sell handmade items like specialty toys, glass Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers and jewelry. Food will be sold at the booths. Dance groups, choirs and carolers will entertain and mingle with guests. Waldrup and his colleagues are seeking artisans from America, Germany and beyond.
“We would love to make this an international event,” Waldrup says. “It will really tie in, in a real way, that European heritage.”