Birmingham Christmas Market to Open This Week, for the Last Time?

 

With the spooky festivities of Halloween now a mere speck in the rear view mirror and the thunderous BOOMS of fireworks for Guy Fawkes thankfully come and gone. Now comes the time where little children stop their yearlong mischievous behaviour and begin to act suspiciously good- maybe a sly attempt to convince Santa that they have been amazing angels- as Birmingham’s German Christmas market rolls into New Street.

The season brings several cultures and traditions to the forefront of society and none more so beautiful than Birmingham’s German Christmas Market. The yearly event, which has been running since 2001, opens its illuminating stalls on the 16th November and will close down for the year on Christmas eve. However, there have been rumblings that this year could be the last in which we see a completely sold out New Street.

With Britain having voted to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum and Prime Minister Theresa May finally beginning the separation procedure by activating Article 50 in March; there is an air of uncertainty around the West Midlands. The negativity coming out of Brussels and Downing Street and the lacklustre progress the nation has seen with potential trade deals could leave the event in a state of limbo for the coming years.

Although Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on the 29th March 2019, can we expect stallholders to pack up their wooden huts this year and use next Christmas to establish themselves in a new environment?

Well the organiser of the event, Kurt Stroscher, explained that this “year the UK will still be a member of the EU” so any effects Brexit may have would not be visible yet.

However, he did say that  “the effect it {Brexit} will have on the German Christmas Market in the future, I can only say when I know the conditions between the EU and the UK”. So it seems as if Mr Stroscher is in the same boat of uncertainity as we all are.

There has also been doubts over the number of visitors this year would bring, considering that in September it was announced that armed security would be increased amid the rise in terrorism in the nation. Mr Storcher confirmed that this was the case but said he would “not know” how this would impact attendance this Winter.

Despite these negatives, there has not been a visible decline in partakers, with this year having completely been sold out (Although down 80 stalls from its peak due to city works). The official website for the market exclaims that “There are currently no vacancies at Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market. We regret that we are unable to consider applications from prospective stallholders at the present time” and proudly advertises that “with 120 stalls there is something for everyone”.

One visitor, who goes every single year is very praiseful of the event.

“I go every year with my daughter, because of the great atmosphere and there are so many beautiful gifts and delicious treats to eat.”

She even goes on to suggest certain parts of the festivities we should try: “I definitely recommend the German sausage and chocolate kisses”

There are clearly very dedicated visiters and owners who come to Birmingham to spread and take part in the German traditions. It would be a great shame to see an event of such admiration and extravagance retract in size. After all it has evolved into something which is of great importance to Birmingham itself. Having begun in 2001 with merely ten stalls available, it has grown into an economic haven which, according to the Birmingham Mail, brings in almost £400 million pounds through its 5.5 million visitors.

I suggest that citizens of Coventry and other West Midland towns take full advantage of this enticing spectacle in its entirety, as the future of this “tradition” is clouded in a haze of ambiguity.

Patrick Stenson

 

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