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Foothills Christmas market offers international flair

Spruce Meadows Christmas Market returns for Nov. 26
SCENE-Spruce Meadows Xmas Market file web
Patrons move about at the 2018 Spruce Meadows Christmas Market. (Brent Calver/Western Wheel file)

A popular Christmas market will return to the Foothills with its signature international flair.

The Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market is slated to make its comeback for Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 3-5 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“It’s amazing, it’s giving something life again. I think everyone just loves to have that look and feel and smell and touch of a Christmas market,” said Spruce Meadows special events vice-president Stavroula Kangles.

“I’m excited to have everyone be welcomed back to Spruce Meadows, obviously in a safe manner and in accordance with health regulations.”

The experience should be familiar for returning patrons, Kangles pointed out.

“The market is going to be offering similar things to what we’ve done in the past," Kangles said. "But obviously a different look and feel obviously with COVID going on and trying to make sure everyone is feeling safe and just being responsible as a company as well.”

This year, tickets will need to be pre-booked, and can not be purchased at the gates, but guests will find familiar territory with the classic European-style market stalls and food.

“We’ll be having 200 vendors this year and we’re going to have a variety of new concessions," Kangles said. "We’ve teamed up with Great Events Catering who does all our food and beverage here at Spruce Meadows and come up with a few new concepts and ideas that are family friendly, and a few new things for adults as well.”

The concessions, while offering the standard event hall fare, will also bring staple European favourites the venue is known for.

“We try to do an international flair, so we will have offerings from perogies to your standard concession food like burgers, but we try to make it a different feel,” Kangles said, adding there were tentative plans to incorporate a German-style waffle station.

“We’re looking to incorporate a kind of après-ski bar, but something like apple cider or the beloved glühwein (mulled wine) everyone loves, or some S’mores stations,” said Kangles, adding little ones will also be able to take in a cinema experience. “One change this year is we’re going to be adding a movie component in the outdoor courtyard. We’re going to be playing some movies for kids to watch while parents shop."

One mainstay that has been stayed for the year is the live entertainment stage in the Equi-Plex.

“So, there's still a live entertainment component, just more roaming and not just one static place,” Kangles said.

“We’ll have roaming carolers as entertainment, and we’ll have our two miniature horses Ricky and Bobby — they always make an appearance.”

The reindeer, she added, couldn’t make it as they had prior commitments on a movie set.

“We would have loved to have done it on a larger scale, but starting small and being responsible is something we obviously wanted to make sure of,” Kangles said. “We want to make sure that people can come here and enjoy it, and in the typically Spruce Meadows fashion.”

Registered as an events venue, Spruce Meadows is following the Restrictions Exemption Program and is requiring proof of double vaccination for all patrons.

Tickets can not be purchased at the gate and must be purchased in advance for $12, or $6 for children 3-12 or seniors 65 and over. No tickets are required for children under three years. 

Parking will be $5 paid by card or cash. A shuttle bus is available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from the Somerset/Bridlewood LRT Station bus shelter located on Shawville Way SE.

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Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and
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