A merrier Christmas: Market Square is now a seasonal slice of Germany

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- Christmas in Germany, that is.

Inspired by Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership has introduced a new holiday treat with its inaugural Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square.

The idea is to capture and extend the liveliness that characterizes the city's commercial core on Light Up Night in November and First Night on the last night of December.

Ida D'Errico, who is producing the event, told the Post-Gazette's Sally Kalson that the origin for the Market Square market came from managers at PPG Place, who had seen the 16-year-old German Market in Chicago. A similar holiday village takes over Bryant Square Park in Manhattan each year too, and other cities around the country and throughout the world offer their own versions.

In Market Square, pitched-roof booths designed to resemble chalets, underwritten by the Colcom and Laurel Foundations, house vendors offering unique gifts, including hand-blown and painted glass ornaments, nutcrackers, Austrian Nativity scenes that open like chests of drawers, Russian nesting dolls, plus holiday cards, jewelry, folk art and children's clothing.

The market will open at 11 a.m. daily through Dec. 23, with closing times that vary depending on the day. Musical performances are scheduled, and there's a chance for afternoon visits with Santa Claus. (Complete hours are available at the partnership's website, downtownpittsburgh.com.)

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