Everyone is duly celebrating the return of the German Market, in Birmingham’s Victoria square. Also known as the ‘Frankfurt Christmas Market’, this immensely popular festival is now celebrating its tenth year, making its mark as Birmingham’s centrepiece, in its Christmas calendar events.
This market draws families, students, couples and friends with its rows of varied stalls selling antique timeworn jewellery, handcrafted monuments, homemade toys, beautiful Christmas decorations and vintage garments.
Revitalising treasured, traditional figurines such as the beloved Nut-Cracker are now on display to attract a new generations attention. The picturesque setting, complete with a carousel and traditional bandstand’s but the main attraction of course is the food.
German sausages, mulled wine, crepes, pretzels, gingerbread and marzipan sweets are just some of the treats on offer for shoppers to purchase. This is a unique cultural experience Birmingham offers, providing exclusivity and weighted diversity in the second city.This distinctive market unites businesses, community groups and schools, fusing people from all social classes together. This is a refreshing splash of culture for people to swim in, drinking in the carol singers, biblical scenes and if lucky enough, the blanket of white snow.
The German market is a cultural, colourful Christmassy combination of arts provided by Birmingham’s creative community, providing a sense of belonging and excitement. The bright-lights and twinkling décor provide the aesthetically story-book type setting for people to meander through throughout the night.
Annual visitors, first time tourists, school children and festival performers all contribute to giving this unique and distinctive market, running all the way up until Christmas Eve. The Frankfurt market is an uplifting financial and economically acclaimed event and a breath of fresh air in tough times.
Traditional log cabins line the strip of German stalls ranging from oak beer stalls selling china wellington boots of hot apple wine, to the compact huts selling wrought iron figurines. The hustle and bustle of the crowds generates a friendly and earnest congregation of shoppers to swarm each stand, enjoying the delights of home-made bread and woollen garments.
Pearly grey steam spirals up from steaming hot mugs of mulled wine as the clink of beer glasses as big as water-jugs, ring round the streets as the clouds of froth splatter onto the cobbles. Children clutch sweet doughy bricks of waffles, earnestly licking off the sweet hot chocolate sauce that dribbles all over their fingers. An excited buzz stings the air as each night the culture hungry assembly of people attend the market, appreciating the German freights.Rare souvenirs and glittery tree decorations twinkling in their masses compel you to stop and gawp. Inky blue and gold wreaths of tinsel are dotted with ruby red sparkling ball balls which boarder the procession of German delights.
The treasures sold in masses leave waves of satisfied shoppers to trudge home, bypassing the mainstream conventional purchases of Debenhams and Next. The attempted pronunciation of German words echo through the air as shoppers bypass various stalls; stimulating a ripple of giggles from gaggles of female students, each taking it in turn to say ‘kartoffen’.Greedy eyes fixate on the rows and rows of chocolates that smugly sit behind their glass cases under the warm glow of the lamp lights. White, milk, dark cubes are drizzled with caramel and fudge sauces, speckled with nuts, sugar and fruit specs.
The throng of shoppers personify that Christmas feel, wrapped up in furs, knitted hats, leather gloves and heavy coats, linking arms, willingly losing themselves in the crush of German stalls. Couples aimlessly wander around this fairy-book setting, captivated by that almost time-warp feel emulated, in the core of Bullring’s shopping hub.
This market is in the heart of Birmingham, a must see for anyone seeking a different type of ‘night out’. The ultimate shopping, dining and drinking experience for those who have rinsed Bullrings hoards of stores, had one to many Nandoes and are tired of your typical pint of Fosters.
Article by Emma Boyle