Written by: Matt McGraw
Artwork by: Jack Einhorn
For the eighth year in a row, Philadelphia is hosting its annual Christmas Village in Center City’s Love Park, from Nov. 26 through Dec. 27. A staple of the holiday season in the City of Brotherly Love, the Christmas Village is expected to be even bigger and better this year, despite the record breaking attendance of 600,000 in 2014, with roughly 700,000 visitors projected for this season and around 70 vendors ready to accommodate them. One of the more exciting things about this season is that for the first time since it’s inception in 2008, the Christmas Village, which is modeled after traditional holiday markets in Germany, will open the weekend before Thanksgiving for a sneak-peek preview in order to give vendors an extra weekend of sales and holiday enthusiasts an extra weekend of shopping and fun.
The preview weekend–which will be held on Nov. 21-22, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day– will allow holiday and outdoor market lovers alike, the chance to enjoy the wide range of booths and attractions that the Christmas Village will have to offer. Katrin Moraske, the social media and public relations representative for German American Marketing Inc., stated that, “We always have a lot of visitors on our weekends and want to give them some more time this year to enjoy the Christmas Village.” Some of the goods available for purchase at the vendor booths will be food, drink, toys, arts and crafts, jewelry, clothing and holiday ornaments. Other attractions will include the giant decorated Christmas tree and newly moved Santa House set up in the Love Park fountain, the Make-a-Wish Foundation’s Wish Wall, a kid’s zone, and live music events.
According to Moraske, planning for the event is basically year round, with January through August being used for sponsoring, vendor management and general organization topics, and the “hard work” of event management and all that it entails running from September until commencement in November. Setup for the preview weekend has already started, beginning officially on Sunday Nov. 8. Within two weeks, all the vendors will be moved in and set up and Love Park will be transformed into the Christmas Village once again.
In 2010, there was much controversy over the name of the Christmas Village, when Philadelphia city officials proposed changing the name to the “Holiday Village” instead. There was a surprising amount of public backlash to this modification and the renaming quickly became national news, even being criticized by celebrities such as Jay Leno. After three days of intense criticism, former Mayor Michael Nutter intervened and had the name changed back to the “Christmas Village,” which it has remained.
The tradition of the German holiday market has been continued in Philadelphia through the Christmas Village and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or one of the many other holidays that occur in the coming months, the market and village held in Love Park is a wonderful place to visit and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season with family and friends.