Philadelphia’s annual Christmas Village kicked off Nov. 26, officiated by the traditional German Christkind.
On Nov. 26, the traditional German Christkind–the Santa Claus of Germany–officiated the grand opening of the Philadelphia German Christmas Village for the 2011 season.
“The biggest change this year is that we are at LOVE Park,” Nancy Schmalz, German American Marketing head, said. “We managed to turn this wonderful venue into a cozy little Christmas Village which offers its visitors a lot of attractions and fun.”
Christmas Village was relocated this year from its previous venue outside City Hall due to ongoing construction. Vendors have taken full advantage of their new location by circling their booths around the LOVE statue and the giant Christmas tree, allowing visitors to enjoy popular landmarks as they shop.
Modeled after traditional German Christmas Markets, the Philadelphia Christmas Village hosts a variety of booths each year. Vendors at the stands sell everything from hand-made ornaments, to sweets, candy treats and piggy banks. There are more than 50 international vendors this year, which have come to share their arts and crafts native to their country.
Villagers have added several new attractions for the whole family to enjoy this year, including a 16-foot-by-18-foot advent calendar.
“Behind every door we explain a German Christmas tradition,” Schamlz said.
The Village committee has also added glassblowing performances, daily live performances by local choirs and bands, special events like “Play On” and “Philly Charity Day.”
“We get people from all around the world to come here. The people from Europe, you know, they miss this,” said Steven Slutsky, who runs the booth for Power Home Remodeling Group.
Slutsky, who has been working at the Village every year since it came to Philadelphia three years ago, explains that he has met people from Canada, Mexico, and all across Europe who have come to Philadelphia just to visit the Village. It has also been a major asset to the city itself.
“[Now] Philadelphia really is a well-known city around the world,” Slutsky said.
Sarah Elizabeth Guy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.