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Stop freaking out about how the Charlotte Christmas Village isn’t good enough

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I get it. I actually do. The Charlotte Christmas Village in Romare Bearden Park has a lot potential that folks yearn for it to be magically good in its first yr of existence. It’s not good. It’s small.

But Charlotte must cease complaining and luxuriate in the Christmas Village for what it’s – the first try at what might be a Charlotte Christmas custom for a few years to return.

Upset attendees have taken to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to air their anger. The occasion isn’t assembly most attendees’ expectations.

For instance, once we posted a innocent strudel photograph from the occasion on Agenda Instagram handle, followers left feedback like:

  • “Very disappointing – no village feel… couple of white tents with some food. Don’t waste our time. Way too much hype”
  • “What a waste of time. Charlotte should be embarrassed. They should have done it right or not done it all.”
  • “Disappointed. We were hoping to buy some Christmas stuff or hand crafted gifts and left with nothing.”
  • “Disappointing. Hoping they are learning how to make it better next year.”

It additionally didn’t assist that the Charlotte media fell in love with this occasion. Media protection created an expectation that didn’t meet actuality.

Complaints embrace: few distributors, few meals choices, low cost white tents as an alternative of picket huts, not enough area to take a seat/loosen up and distributors that don’t have anything to do with Christmas, like salespeople from Leaf Filter Gutter Protection and Carolina Home Remodeling.

“We would have loved to have wooden huts this year,” Dena Bruton-Claus

Is it bizarre to see a Bathtub Makeover Giveaway tent as one in every of the few distributors at the Christmas Village? Of course it’s. But let’s additionally keep in mind that admission is free and occasions like this want sponsors to exist.

Obviously, individuals don’t need gutter salespeople at a Christmas occasion. The objective of most occasion producers is to construct up enough model fairness to have sponsors like Coca-Cola Bottling that get worth from model affiliation as an alternative of activation. This takes years.


Food and drink choices embrace bratwurst from 5Church, mini donuts, strudel, roasted nuts, wine, espresso, cider from Red Clay Cider and beer from Blue Blaze.

All scrumptious, however there’s not a lot.


An eight×eight vendor space was $three,000 and the 16’x8′ area was $four,800.

This value is materials to native artisans, lots of which can not have the stock to maintain up with demand and would have a further payroll expense to employees an area for all the hours. An straightforward answer to this may have been to permit totally different distributors over the course of 30 days.


“We had a line all the way until 9 p.m. on Saturday night and it was crazy,” the woman working the Helmut’s Strudel tent advised me. “The crowds have been amazing.”


Because of the crowds, I anticipate vendor gross sales can be a lot simpler in Christmas of 2017. My take is that distributors like the Strudel enterprise are printing money.

The Charlotte Christmas Village runs from November 24 to December 24 at Uptown’s Romare Bearden Park. It’s open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday – Saturday and Noon to six p.m. Sunday (closed Monday).

Dena and Paul studied the Christmas markets in each Chicago and Philadelphia when planning for Charlotte.

“It’s clear that Charlotte is ripe for this type of Christmas market,” Dena advised me over the telephone. “There’s a lot of shopping going on. We’re learning a ton and we hope to have more performance programming, kid’s activities and vendors in 2017. Now that everybody has had a taste on what this can be – city, county and Center City Partners – our goal is to get planning started in January of 2017 for next year’s Christmas Village.”

Dena went on to elucidate to me that they’re presently at vendor capability for the higher park of Romare Bearden Park and that on account of the ACC Championship actions (which obtained canceled) securing the whole park wasn’t an choice.

Dena and Paul would love for the Charlotte Christmas Village to take over all of Romare Bearden Park and she or he didn’t rule out spilling over into BB&T Ballpark sooner or later.

Dena was very well mannered over the telephone, however my sense is that the metropolis and county had no concept how massive of successful this might be.

There have been a whole lot of individuals in the village by 12:30 p.m. and I liked the Uptown power. We grabbed a dozen donuts for $5 and walked round the primary circle of distributors for 15 minutes after which performed in the backside half of Romare Bearden.

Because I had seen the on-line response, I walked into the Christmas Village with extra modest expectations and we had a good time.


If the occasion has confirmed something – it’s that Charlotte actually, actually needs this to be unimaginable.

Like a father or mother speaking to their baby, it’s fascinating to see attendees proceed to make use of the phrase “disappointed” to explain the occasion. They’re not indignant, they’re disillusioned.

The metropolis of Charlotte must get behind the Christmas Village in an enormous means and roll out the pink carpet. The Claus household and the metropolis authorities have to study, adapt and convey their A recreation in 2017.

And the remainder of us have to nibble on some strudel, sip some cider, reset our expectations and cease freaking about a stunning (though small) first yr of a free Christmas occasion.

Ted Williams


Publisher, golfer, dad and magician (critically).

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