Vendors setting up in Philadelphia's Christmas Village

TaRhonda Thomas Image
Friday, November 18, 2022
Vendors setting up in Philadelphia's Christmas Village
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This coming weekend marks the debut of the Christmas Village in Love Park in Center City.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With plywood being propped up and hammers and tools all over the place, it may be hard for some to see the vision of the German Christmas Market coming to fruition as part of the Christmas Village in Philadelphia.

But Lisa Leonhardi can see the vision clearly as PR and social media director of the popular attraction.

"There's going to be a big seating area here," she said gesturing to an open area of Love Park across the street from City Hall.

"We have food vendors. We have jewelry. We have decorations," she said of the German Christmas Market, which opens for a preview weekend on Saturday and Sunday. The market will be open seven days a week starting Thanksgiving Day.

As she strolls past the dark wood booths which resemble cottages, she's reminded of the Christmas markets after which this one was fashioned. Those markets are in Germany, which is where Leonhardi is from.

She says this year's German Christmas Market in Philadelphia will feel more authentic than ever.

That includes everything from the food to the booths that vendors will use.

"This is what an actual Christmas market would look like in Germany," she said. "The booths here at Love Park are all new."

It's a new space for an old favorite at the market.

John Murray is in his 13th year as a vendor at a booth simply known as The Irish Shop.

"All of my products for the most part are from Ireland," said Murray who is from Philadelphia but travels all over the world to sell his wares.

He says the Philadelphia German Christmas Market is a favorite for people across the country.

"No matter where I go... people always mention that they want to come here," he said.

The German Christmas Market is part of the "Christmas Village" -- which also extends to City Hall. This is the 15th season for the family-friendly experience.

"You can bring your strollers. You can bring your dogs, they just have to be on a leash," said Leonhardi.

Shoppers can also bring their Christmas lists.

"You can get all super special Christmas and holiday gifts for you and your family," she said

One particular item at Murray's shop is always popular with the hard-to-gift man.

"The Irish caps out front," he said. "Dad, granddad, boyfriend, husband off the list!"

With vendors setting up shop and workers readying the stage for performances, gifts, food and fun are all on the way for the holidays.

"Everything builds up to this Christmas village," said Murray.

The preview weekend for Christmas Village in Philadelphia is this Saturday and Sunday. The village will then close for three days and reopen to a full-time schedule on Thanksgiving Day. It will remain open until December 24 with the following hours:

Sun - Thu: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Fri - Sat: 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Thanksgiving Day: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Christmas Eve: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.