After seven consecutive years at the Inner Harbor, Baltimore’s Christmas Village, a German-style Christmas market, won’t be coming back this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will return in 2021, organizers announced Friday.
The group tried to make a socially-distanced version of the village to give “people a piece of normalcy during these challenging times,” but opted not to for safety reasons, said Christmas Village President Thomas Bauer in a release.
“Due to public health safety concerns and the uncertainty of COVID-19, we won’t be able to execute our market in a safe and pandemic-friendly way this year,” Bauer said in the release. “In consultation with the City of Baltimore, we decided to prioritize the safety of our staff, vendors, and guests and to focus on 2021.”
The announcement comes as Baltimore City has seen case rates and positivity rates soar in recent weeks and the state reported its third-highest daily total of new cases since the start of the pandemic Friday.
The Baltimore Mayor’s Christmas Parade was also called off in September for 2020 due to the virus and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Ice Rink also won’t open this winter due to the pandemic.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, warned Marylanders Thursday of complacency with virus-fighting measures during holiday gatherings, sounding the alarm about rising cases.
The open-air and indoor village evoked historic German Christmas markets on the western edge of the city’s Inner Harbor, drawing 150,000 or more visitors in 2018 over nearly a month. Vendors sold a medley of food, beer and retail items in wooden huts, with a heated tent warming customers in a biergarten.
Some vendors will still be offering online shopping via the village’s website, according to the release. Organizers called on fans to support small businesses in shopping for holiday gifts via vendors' online stores.
The event will be back in West Shore Park in November 2021, organizers said in the release.
“The entire team is looking forward to returning to the new normal next winter and to get into the holiday spirit while shopping unique gifts and indulging in European food and drinks including Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Raclette Cheese, Gluhwine, and more,” the release said.
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