In a year that has been more naughty than nice, Philadelphians can count on a little holiday cheer returning to LOVE Park and City Hall this November.
Christmas Village, an open-air German-style market offering traditional European food, drink, and shopping, will return to Center City for a 13th season, with new pandemic safety protocols in place.
Following state and local guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the village will offer half its usual number of vendors — spaced apart to observe social distancing — separate food and shopping areas, and will include a fenced-off, crowd-controlled food court with spacing between tables.
The shopping area, organizers said, will be arranged around the perimeter of LOVE Park, with one-way walking directions and social distancing in place. Visitors must wear masks, unless they are seated in the food court and consuming food and drink. Those feeling sick or in contact with a sick person are required to stay home. Hand sanitizing stations will also be made available, organizers said.
Despite the restrictions, Christmas Village will still host more than 60 vendors at LOVE Park, the North Apron of City Hall, and the City Hall courtyard, selling seasonal gifts, handmade ornaments, and crowd-favorite foods like bratwurst, raclette cheese, mulled wine, and schnitzel.
“After a very challenging year, we are excited to bring back a safe and socially-distanced version of Christmas Village in Philadelphia without losing the charm of a traditional European Christmas market,” said Christmas Village president Thomas Bauer. “We are extremely thankful to the City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Philadelphia Health Department for their support and guidance to give Philadelphians something positive to look forward to during the holiday season and to bring back a piece of normalcy in 2020.”
Christmas Village will host a preview weekend on Nov. 21 and 22 and will officially open on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, through Christmas Eve on Dec. 24.
During the holiday season, the market will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Bauer encouraged visitors to avoid weekend crowds by frequenting the village on weekdays, to wear a mask, and to stay six feet — “at least one Christmas tree length” — away from others.
“Santa will indeed be watching," he said, "and the rules will be enforced.”