Sleigh bells ring….
blog by Emily Stoll • August 19, 2011 @ 1:00pm
In Buffalo, winter means three things: snow, snow and more snow. But this winter, there’s something to look forward to besides blizzards and sub-zero temperatures: the first ever Niagara Holiday Market.
Predicted to be the largest European-style holiday market and festival in America, the Niagara Holiday Market will open at 12 p.m. on Nov. 25 – Black Friday.
Held along Old Falls Street, the market will start at 3rd Street near the Seneca Niagara Casino and end at the main entrance of the State Park. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The market will be closed on Christmas Day.
With an expected attendance of more than 400,000, more than 80 vendors showcasing their wares, and more than 20 special events lined up, this holiday market is kind of a big deal.
“This is not a carnival or a weekend street festival with funnel cakes,” said Mark Rivers, head of the market. “It is a world-class market and event that is already attracting the very best retailers and artisans from the region and beyond.”
The market will boast prime Christmas shopping every day for 36 days, with items for sale such as apparel, footwear, one-of-a-kind household items, handcrafted gifts, photography, visual art, children’s items and specialty foods.
The market will also feature a primetime broadcast of the market’s tree-lighting ceremony, Santa’s Workshop, a Tournament of Song, the largest outdoor ice skating rink in Western New York and even a Winter Wonderland where you can build snowmen and have all kinds of fun in the snow – can anyone say snowball fight?
There will also be a celebrity chef cook-off from Dec. 16 to 18 with Niagara Culinary Center, so bring not only your wallet, but your appetite as well.
Visitors at the market can also experience the exciting lineup of holiday concerts planned – ticket information will be released in September for the Canadian Tenors, Aaron Neville, Elisabeth von Trapp and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s “A Visit with St. Nick.” After these shows, you’re sure to be in the Christmas spirit.
This holiday market has been in the works for a while now, Rivers noted. “I’ve always wanted to do something meaningful here,” the Ellicottville native said. He’s done quite a bit over the past fifteen years to help build a sense of community in the area and has worked a lot in Europe, but he was still looking for a signature holiday event for the area. The European Holiday Markets seemed like a natural fit.
“European Holiday Markets bring a lot of richness and character to communities,” Rivers said. He felt it would be great for the area—the “right type of idea and right type of place.” The idea came around last year, and the market’s people have been working hard on it for the past four or five months.
“I encourage everybody to check it out,” said marketing manager Erin Reedy. “This is only the beginning.”
Keep an eye on the market’s website for more information.