Ava Prodan, of Birmingham, brought big smiles to a previous Winter Markt in the city’s downtown.

Ava Prodan, of Birmingham, brought big smiles to a previous Winter Markt in the city’s downtown.

File photo by Donna Agusti

‘Tis the season for Birmingham trees and traditions

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 26, 2018


BIRMINGHAM — Grab your gloves and your holiday gift list, because one of Birmingham’s most charming traditions is returning to Shain Park this weekend.

The annual Birmingham Winter Markt will kick off Nov. 30 at the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony and will last through Dec. 2. The park will be illuminated with more than 60 booths featuring holiday crafts and decorations, art from local makers, home décor, giftware and more. The event is modeled after the old-world Christmas markets of Europe.

“As visitors step foot into Shain Park during the Winter Markt, they will enter a magical, European-themed wonderland with warm treats, delicious sweets, holiday gifts and festive music. We welcome visitors from near and far to take part in this special occasion,” Ingrid Tighe, executive director of the Birmingham Shopping District, said in an email.  

Among the finds at the Winter Markt will be holiday greens, ice sculptures, live reindeer, warming stations and a Kinderhaus children’s activity area not far from the popular Santa House, where the main man himself will be available for meet-and-greets.

Local school choirs will perform throughout the weekend, and live entertainment will be provided by the Scottish Highland Dance School, Next Step Triple Threats, the Village Youth Theater’s cast of “Aladdin,” Blue Crow Talent’s carolers and the Birmingham Concert Band.

Guests can also hitch a ride on the horse-drawn carriage that will make its debut this weekend and stick around for a shopper’s delight the rest of the holiday season.

Everything begins at 6 p.m. Friday, when Santa himself will join Birmingham Mayor Patty Bordman for Christmas caroling and the lighting of the city’s 35-foot-tall blue spruce with more than 40,000 LED lights.

“These events are reminiscent of holidays long ago, when families gathered in the city center to celebrate with others the start of the season of bright, colorful lights and the snow globe-like appearance of our city,” Bordman said in an email. “The wonderful, open-air shopping at the Winter Markt, where crowds mingle and walk from tent to tent seeking holiday treasures, is just plain fun. But most of all, sharing the sight of the children’s faces when the tree lights turn on simply cannot be duplicated.”

There’s no cost to attend the tree-lighting festivities or the Winter Markt. The Markt will be open 4-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.

For more information, including a complete schedule of entertainment and a list of vendors, visit BirminghamWinterMarkt.org.