The weather is getting colder, holiday decorations are going up in the windows of downtown shops and restaurants and this weekend, Birmingham again plays host to the holiday season with the third annual Winter Markt in Shain Park.
Meant to mimic a German winter market, Principal Shopping District executive director John Heiney said there will be plenty of mulled wined, evergreens and "Gemütlichkeit" (German for "coziness" or "hospitality") this weekend.
"This is an exciting even that offers the community a chance to come together to enjoy the delicious sights and sounds of the holidays," Heiney said.
Heading downtown to the Markt this weekend but don't know where to start? Here's what you need to know before you go.
- Where: Shain Park and the surrounding streets
- When: 3-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
- History: The Markt was conceived by two Birmingham residents Birgit Strasser and Angelika Reiner, both of who were born and raised in Germany. The pair received permission to start the Markt with the Principal Shopping District in November 2010.
- Parking: Parking is free for the first two hours in any of the city's parking garages, including the nearby Pierce Street Garage and Chester Street Garage. After that, parking is $1 an hour. Parking, both on the street and in the garages, is free on Sundays.
What to do:
There will be more than 50 vendors and craftsmen at the 2012 Winter Markt, selling everything from handmade Christmas ornaments and decorations, to artwork and wooden toys.
Also make sure to pick up your Christmas tree at the Markt, with several vendors from the Birmingham Farmers Market on site selling live evergreens.
Eat and drink
Love hot pretzels and streusal? Then you're in luck. Traditional German food and drinks, including spiced mulled wine, will be available courtesy of Plum Market on the patio of The Community House all weekend long.
Bring the kids
They may not like the mulled wine or the shopping, but there's plenty for the little ones at this year's Winter Markt. Visit the Kinderhaus children's activity area near Baldwin Public Library all weekend long, visit the big guy at the Santa House (also located in Shain Park) or have your picture taken with one of the roaming winter princesses on Saturday.
Enjoy the season
Besides shopping and eating, the Winter Markt is all about celebrating what winter has to offer. Check out live ice sculpture demonstrations, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown Birmingham and enjoy the sounds of the season from the following choirs, bands and other groups:
- 4-4:30 p.m.: Greenfield Elementary honors choir
- 5:30-6 p.m.: Beverly Elementary honors choir
- 6-6:40 p.m.: Village Youth Theatre
- 7-9 p.m.: Birmingham Brass Quintet
- 10-10:30 a.m.: West Maple Elementary honors choir
- 11-11:30 a.m.: TRUE
- Noon-12:30 p.m.: Deutsche Schule Detroit
- 1-1:30 p.m.: Twelfth Night Singers
- 2-2:30 p.m.: Seaholm High School's 'The Voices' choir
- 3-3:45 p.m.: Harlan Elementary Glee Club
- 4-4:40 p.m.: Deutsche Sprachschule Bloomfield
- 5-5:30 p.m.: Langsford Mens Chorus
- 6-9 p.m.: Eric Neubauer Brass Band
- Noon-12:45 p.m.: Bellissima Musica
- 1-1:30 p.m.: Just Friends, A Sweet Adelines Quartet
- 2-2:30 p.m.: Pembroke Elementary Eton Street Singers
- 2:30-3 pm.: Signs of Praise
- 3-3:30 p.m.: Coda Honor Quartet
New this year:
2012 is a special year for the Winter Markt, with a variety of events lined up for all three days:
- Friday: Everything kicks off this year with the opening ceremonies at 5 p.m. Friday on the main stage. The master of ceremonies will be Miss Michigan USA Jaclyn Schultz. After the ceremony, make sure to stop by the Wilkommen Booth between Baldwin Public Library and The Community House to meet Schultz until 9 p.m.
- Saturday: WOMC will record a live broadcast with Bobby Mitchell and Stacey Duford from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. In addition, the Detroit Lions mascot Roary will be on hand from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
- Sunday: Bring the kids and visit with reindeer Blizzard and Nick from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.