How to experience Charlotte Christmas Village, a month-long European-style holiday market in Uptown

How to experience Charlotte Christmas Village, a month-long European-style holiday market in Uptown
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Charlotte Christmas Village is back for year two, promising a bigger and better experience than last year’s controversial debut event.

They still don’t have traditional wooden huts (a major point of contention at last year’s event) but have nearly doubled the number of vendors and moved to the larger lower lawn for 2017.

My husband and I stopped by for a strudel on opening day after the Thanksgiving parade and again on Saturday evening for glühwein and doughnuts. While there’s plenty of room for continued growth, the event has made major strides in its second year — from the decor to the tighter vendor configuration. Here’s what to expect.

When to go

The village is definitely at its most magical right around dusk when the sun sets and the string lights come on. It’s open until 9 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, which are the best days to go for an evening experience.

Keep in mind weekday alcohol sales don’t start until 3 p.m. anyway so don’t go before then if you’re planning on giving glühwein (warm mulled wine) a try.

If you have little ones with bedtimes to manage or just prefer a daytime visit, the village is open beginning at 11 a.m. Tuesday – Sunday. And Santa is in the house Saturdays 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

What to eat

Come prepared to sample sweet bites like a bag of fresh-fried mini doughnuts (choose from cinnamon or powdered sugar toppings) and assorted German strudels (like apple, cherry and cheese).

The smell from the strudel tent is irresistible.

Cinnamon sugar mini doughnuts ($5)

For a heartier savory meal, hit up the 5Church sausage stand for bratwursts, knockwursts, amerikrainers and other German favorites.

You’ll find bistro tables throughout the grounds as well as a dedicated hospitality tent with seating along Mint Street near the baseball stadium.

What to drink

Glühwein, a warm mulled wine, is the main draw among drink options as it’s the traditional beverage served at German Christmas markets.

It’s available at the Dover Vineyards and Red Clay Cider tent for $10, which includes a souvenir mug that you can bring back all season for $7 refills.

You’ll also find kinderwine, a non-alcoholic version, at the roasted nuts stand.

Beer and hard cider are also available along with non-alcoholic options like hot cocoa and soda.

Where to shop

There are 13 new vendors joining returning vendors from last year’s inaugural event for a total of 29 tents.

They’re selling everything from handcrafted gifts and holiday decor to live Christmas trees, wreaths and garland.

Here’s a full list of the vendors (* denotes new for 2017):

Gifts & Decor

Hans & Heidi’s Holiday House – unique holiday imports
Nomads* – hand-woven textiles from Ecuador
Element Tree Essentials – candles with essential oils
Pet Wants – pet treats and gear
Bauble and Seed – artisan jewelry from Tagua
Miller House Eight 16* – all-natural body and skincare
Southern Olive* – gourmet olive oils, vinegars, spices and more
Felt N Wool – Nepali folk art
Coddle Creek Farms – local gourmet honey, beeswax candles and more
Blue Ridge Valley Christmas Trees – trees, wreaths and garland
German Gifts* – imported German nutcrackers, steins and more
Christmas Nordic Dreams* – handmade items from the Baltics and Scandinavia
Unique Creations by Amy* – handmade jewelry
Pursonal Hang Ups* – lockets, floating charms and more

Food & Drink

Vineyard at Dover Farms – traditional glühwein and wines by the glass
Red Clay Ciderworks – hard cider and hot mulled cider
Blue Blaze Brewing – craft beer
Helmuts Strudel – fresh, hot Austrian strudel
Helmuts Pretzel Twists* – fresh baked pretzel twists with toppings
5Church German Grill – German sausages
Mini Donuts – fresh-fried doughnuts and coffee
Christine’s Konditorei – small-batch German baked goods
Pure Popcorn* – gourmet popcorn
Sugar Pops* – handmade chocolates
The Bacon Jams – gourmet bacon spreads
Georgetown Select Nuts – cinnamon toasted nuts and more
Wild Bills Olde Fashion Soda Pop* – soda sold in souvenir mugs
Brusters* – holiday flavored ice cream

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