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Care to celebrate the holidays early? Check out this popular event

It's 'Happy Holidays' even before 'Happy Halloween' in Eastern Pennsylvania. 2020 may be disappointing to some, but Christkindlmarkt is sure to brighten spirits.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — It's 'Happy Holidays' even before Happy Halloween in Eastern Pennsylvania. A merry and bright event kicked off Thursday in Northampton County.

A small crowd of people took in the historic SteelStacks in Bethlehem for opening day of Christkindlmarkt. The family event is now celebrating it's 28th year. This year, the event kicked off earlier, and it runs two weekends longer.

If you love Christmas music, tasty treats, ornaments, and much, much more, it's the right place to be. The holiday market boasts more than 50 vendors. Artisans travel from all over to show off and sell their products. When asked if it's too soon to bask in holiday spirit, many of the vendors responded with 'why not?' They say it's a fantastic opportunity to score some business amid a pandemic.

"There are so many talented people from all over the United States who come here," said Mike Riehl, who runs Ornament Guy. "It's a nice community and to see what people can do. You think you've seen everything, you're surprised there's something new."

"It's making a living which hasn't been that easy this year for many," said Ken Ingalls, who runs Little House Candles.

The event has been reimagined from years past to be COVID-19 friendly. All of the vendors are spaced accordingly, and people are asked to wear a mask while they walk around Christkindlmarkt. However, visitors can remove masks when they eat.

Christkindlmarkt runs every weekend now through November 29 or Thanksgiving weekend. Organizers say it could go longer if there is a demand for it.

For the safety of all patrons, staff and volunteers, tickets will be sold for designated admission times starting every half hour to reduce lines and wait times. Individuals who walk up to Christkindlmarkt without an admission ticket will only be permitted to buy tickets to a session that has not reached its capacity limit.

PNC Plaza at SteelStacks | Bethlehem, PA
• October 8-11
• October 15-18
• October 22-25
• October 29-November 1
• November 5-8
• November 12-15
• November 19-22
• November 27-29 (closed Thurs., Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving)

Thursdays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (last entry at 4:30 p.m.)
Fridays: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. (last entry at 6:30 p.m.)
Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. (last entry at 6:30 p.m.)
Sundays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (last entry at 4:30 p.m.)

Admission Ticket Prices:
Children ages 2 and under are free

Thursdays: $9
Fridays: $10
Saturdays: $10
Sundays: $10

Due to state restrictions on crowd size, a limited number of tickets are available per session each day, so we cannot guarantee admission to guests who do not purchase tickets in advance. There will be an additional $4 in service and cleaning fees on tickets purchased at the door. That increases the price to $13 on Thursday and $14 Friday through Sunday.

Visitors are encouraged to check out its website here.

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