What’s German for Bah Humbug?

So it seems our little Holidazzle Market has some critics. Apparently, it’s not stroller or kid friendly enough. Apparently it’s outrageous to stop offering the same old free entertainment the patronage for which was insufficient to induce downtown businesses to continue supplying it. Apparently it’s just uncouth to ask visitors to contribute a small amount of money to cover the costs. Apparently the organizers are supposed to be thankful if people just browse for free.

And, apparently it’s both so devoid of patrons as to be unappealing and too crowded to be able to see what vendors are offering.

But one thing is for sure, the organizers absolutely nailed provoking the maximum amount of whining.

So maybe a shot of that day it was closed due to a water interruption isn't the way to go.

So maybe a shot of the day it was closed due to a water interruption isn’t the way to go.

First, let’s recognize a few realities about this event to set our expectations.

– Peavey Plaza is an inaccessible mess. The city wanted to change that, but was thwarted.

– There aren’t many spaces available that could host this event downtown. Remember that whole lack of a downtown park thing? Maybe in the future they can use the park formerly known as The Yard (can’t remember what they changed it to and it doesn’t matter enough to look up), but for now, Peavey Plaza is about all we’ve got for an outdoor venue that’s public and near retail (which even The Yard would not be).

– Shoehorning the market into the plaza means patrons are going to have to deal with the vertical elements of the plaza’s design. Maybe you want to thank those who fought to keep it the way it is?

– The market sells alcoholic beverages (hot German drinks and beer). These beverages are culturally relevant to the event and part of the fun.

– Selling alcohol likely comes with restrictions (if I wasn’t writing this for free, I might research that point some more), which may include restricting access.

With those things in mind, let’s look at what, in my opinion, organizers got right:

The market looks nice. From the street it fits in an interesting way into the multi-level space (although obviously, no fences would look a lot nicer). The “village” portion of the event – the reindeer pen, story stage, glass blowing exhibit, whatever they are calling the other stage –  integrate reasonably with a fully pedestrianized (why can’t we have this all the time?) stretch of Nicollet Mall. The offerings are decent, featuring mostly culturally interesting German items and things like knits and clothing that fit in the cold. For someone like me who doesn’t particularly enjoy shopping, there is an appropriate emphasis on food and drink.

What maybe could be better but might be subject to limitations that I, a lowly internet commentator, can’t really evaluate:

There’s an entry fee and access to the market is controlled. The German mustard stand has not been open the three times I’ve been.

So, yeah, we can all be outraged about the lack of mustard. I’ve got pork in the slow cooker with sauerkraut here, people. You expect me to eat it without Koenig Senf? That’s one part short of three parts of deliciousness, friend. A staffer told us that the mustard shortage was a result of FDA or importation issues, so maybe the real blame falls on Obamacare or something.

As to that other pesky issue, having enjoyed the Cologne Christmas market on a vacation past, I was disappointed to learn about the fee. In a perfect world (and a good German Christmas Market can get pretty close if you ask me), it would be free so that people could more easily wander in and out and so that the event would be open to everyone.

But we’re not in a perfect world. We’re in a world where a fair amount of expense went into building, setting up, operating and maintaining the market and surrounding (free) holiday village activities.

If you’re disappointed because you just wanted a quick pop in and didn’t think the cost worked for you, that’s unfortunate. But maybe you also need to ask yourself two questions: (1) was this event organized for people like me, and (2) should it be? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s a one time fee and that return trips are free. Maybe it’s okay to have an event that prioritizes patrons who will be interested in a return visit? Maybe catering to the lightly interested hasn’t worked in the past (see all those parade viewers who didn’t shop downtown) and can’t reasonably be expected to work now? Maybe people who live, work and spend time downtown won’t mind paying once, because they can come back. If you’re thinking, “I’d rather be at the Mall of America,” I’m talking to you.

Which brings me to the last category, things that may not be how you’d like them to be but don’t make them mistakes:

The market is much less kid-centric than the parades of the past.

Pretty much everything on offer in the market is for adults, most notably the alcohol, or at least not terribly likely to hold kid interests (Christmas ornaments, soaps, beer steins, knits, etc.). I can’t help but think that’s intentional from the organizers, as families with small kids may not be the ideal patrons for nighttime retail in the city. Go figure.

I’d say I’m sorry that there isn’t enough here for your kids, but I’m not really. We have no shortage of family-first events. It’s okay to have adult-first ones too.

 

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40 Responses to What’s German for Bah Humbug?

  1. Mplsjaromir December 12, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    This is the best article on streets.mn in months (ever?)

  2. Joey Senkyr
    Joey Senkyr December 12, 2014 at 9:14 am #

    It was. Great post, Adam.

  3. Will Delaney December 12, 2014 at 9:22 am #

    So, if I’m understanding your point here, it could best be summarized as “Get off my lawn!” (?) Hilarious post.

  4. Wayne December 12, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    This made me actually kind of want to go (mustard shortage aside), whereas I had zero interest before. So good job there.

    But I also want to harp again on the awful design of Peavy Plaza and give some public shaming to the ‘preservationists’ who fought so hard to keep it in its current terrible form. Honestly people might take preservation seriously here if they picked their battles a little better instead of fighting to preserve poorly-designed plazas, unremarkable single-story commercial buildings, and chopped-up boarding houses. I’m all for preservation … of things that are actually historical and valuable to the public realm. It seems like a lot of the time ‘preservationists’ (I’m using scare quotes here because I don’t think some of these people really embody the spirit of preservation) are just NIMBYs using historic preservation as an excuse to fight any change.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke December 12, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      I’d reccommend stopping at Kramarszuk’s (sp) on your way, buying some good polish mustard in a tube, and keeping in your coat pocket.

    • Alex December 12, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      Actually the plaza is really well designed. As you descend into the lower plaza, the chaotic noise of the typical downtown Minneapolis car-choked streetscape fades away and you actually get a little bit of peace and quiet. When I lived downtown and rarely escaped the constant trill of car alarms, this was very valuable for me. It was even better before Public Works allowed the water features to fail, as the white noise of the fountains added to the serenity even more. Anyone who has watched children scamper over the concrete pad islands and between the different levels would not call the design a failure, nor would anyone who knows anything about Modernism and the influence upon it of traditional Japanese design. Yes, it needs to be made more accessible. That can be done without destroying it. Congrats to you and the author of this post on your petty rehash of a battle you’ve already lost. Maybe your bitter tears will wash away the historic design so the city can spend the money on their trite replacement that they’re apparently unwilling to spend on restoring the actual Peavey Plaza.

      • Wayne December 12, 2014 at 11:06 am #

        If you want peace and quiet in downtown, may I suggest the Loring Greenway a block down? It’s off the busy streets and usually pretty empty. The buildings and trees seem to keep the noise down as well. I think it’s pretty unreasonable to keep a dated design with poor circulation in such a dense area because people in the city apparently don’t like noise (there are very quiet suburbs if you hate noise so much).

        Also, thanks for the snotty remark about modernism. Maybe some people think 90% of modernist design was a mistake and that enshrining it as historic and forever dooming our public spaces to the heavy-handed views of a few self-appointed architectural geniuses who put something together because it was the fashion of the day is just bad public policy. I’d also like to remind you that that ‘car-choked streetscape’ was also a product of the grand plans of the same era that gave us such architectural gems as Moos Tower.

        Preserving something just because it’s representative of a certain time or design without caring about how it actually functions is a great way to ruin cities. It’s basically saying that some mistakes are now permanent, scars on the living fabric of the city. There’s nothing redeeming about Peavy Plaza as it currently is and the design completely incompatible with the location and modern use. This market is a great example of how poorly the design adapts to anything.

        Oh, and I won’t have to rely on my tears, just a good heavy rain should do the trick. Maybe it can function like those drainage ponds by highway interchanges.

        • Bill Lindeke
          Bill Lindeke December 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

          Yeah Alex, you should check out the Loring Greenway. Here’s a helpful article all about it to get you up to speed: http://www.minnpost.com/stroll/2013/01/walking-loring-greenway-safe-attractive-example-urban-renewal

          • Wayne December 12, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

            Well I’m so terribly sorry to not be exceedingly familiar with his oeuvre. I guess if I’m not on a first name basis with everyone else who writes here I should keep my mouth shut and leave you to your clubhouse.

            • Matt Steele
              Matt Steele December 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

              Ah yes, the club where writing on a blog with high readership is as easy as sending an email asking for an author account, which is significantly less work than actually starting an individual blog. It’s exclusively available to everyone. Come on in, the clubhouse is warm.

        • Alex Cecchini
          Alex Cecchini December 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

          “Maybe some people think 90% of modernist design was a mistake and that enshrining it as historic and forever dooming our public spaces to the heavy-handed views of a few self-appointed architectural geniuses…”

          Couldn’t you say the same about other architectural styles? Richardsonian Romanesque feels extremely heavy to me, but I see the merits in keeping some of them around as shining examples. At the time of the Metropolitan Building’s demise, (and for 20 years leading up to many structures we’ve lost), the general public saw them as outdated mistakes.

          “Preserving something just because it’s representative of a certain time or design without caring about how it actually functions is a great way to ruin cities.”

          I’m one of the last people here you’ll see defending historic preservation for preservation’s sake, but even I can see the merit in keeping Peavy Plaza with some upgrades to accessibility and bringing back some of the original features. Also, I’d say the author did a good job showing how, despite some of the site’s challenges, the market is still actually pretty good.

          • Wayne December 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

            Fair points, although I would argue that as a style modernism (and its ugly cousin brutalism) held little regard for practical functionality (despite their claims to the contrary). They sought to remake the world to their new standards, not to integrate the designs into the world. Richardsonian Romanesque is at least a derivative of styles and traditions that go back hundreds of years and generally value the user. Most modernist designs have always struck me as actively hostile to users, and Peavy Plaza is no different (to me).

            If they could somehow fix it I guess I’d be ok, but the whole idea of sunken plazas is a tough sell for me. Sunken maybe 4-6′ I could deal with on a parcel that size, but it’s just too deep. When you combine something that’s massed like a pit with the generally unfriendly design elements of modernism, it just rubs me the wrong way.

        • Alex December 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

          I’m assuming you know that M. Paul Friedberg designed both the Loring Greenway and Peavey Plaza? And that he designed the Greenway specifically to complement the Plaza? But yes, I do like the Greenway (as could be gathered by my article), I just think that this area of downtown can support both.

          I think I explained why I think it works well: it actually offers a peaceful place to relax as opposed to the at-grade portion which is marred by the highway-scale traffic of 11th St; its complex mix of grades and playful pathways offer appealing playscapes (seriously, go there sometime, you’ll see kids having a great time). I’ll add that the mix of grades also offers a tremendous amount of lunchtime seating, which you’ll see used heavily in the summer (it also makes for a great place to see a concert or play). Finally, I’ll clarify that I don’t think it should preserved because it’s Modernist but rather because it’s good Modernism; it does the above plus it tactfully but cleverly incorporates features of traditional Japanese design (the most obvious is the three-pad bridge under the waterfalls; more subtle are the circuitous paths over the terraces that gently guide the traveler to various vantage points and across microcosmic landscapes).

          Now what exactly do you dislike about it? Talk about its specific features, not just that it’s Modernist and from the 70s. I’ll address the sunken aspect below.

      • Bill Lindeke
        Bill Lindeke December 12, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

        Yeah, I’m with Alex on this. It’s just about the best that 70s concrete architecture has to offer and we should restore the fountains. Just because poor people hang out there doesn’t mean it’s a failure.

        • Wayne December 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

          None of the problems I have with it relate to poor people using it. I just don’t think the best the 70s had to offer is good enough to deserve a spot in the city going forward.

          Personally, I think urban plazas should relate to the streets and buildings around them, not turn so inward on themselves. It’s a plaza, not a park. If you crave isolation, you shouldn’t seek it out in the middle of downtown. There’s too much going on nearby to sacrifice space to this kind of design..

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller December 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

            I’m of two minds.

            (1) It’s not acceptable as it is.

            (2) Could it be acceptable if (1) the fountains and all of the rest of the original features are that currently not there were restored, and (2) it was somehow made accessible? Maybe? Probably?

            Where those who want to preserve it kind of lose me is in the difference they see between what the city proposed and #2. But I’m also with them on not understanding how there was money to implement the city’s proposal but not to restore it.

          • Alex December 12, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

            First of all, Peavey does relate to the space around it. It is integrated into Orchestra Hall, matches the Brutalism of the YWCA, and offers an inviting and playful opening of Nicollet Mall. Not sure if you lived in town when the fountains still worked, but they always livelied up a walk down Nicollet, and the deck-like space next to them is a nice vantage point for both the Plaza and the Mall. Finally, the approach down the Terrace is an easy approach for Mall users because its both gradual and easy to orient (e.g. you can see what you’re getting into).

            Second of all, you misinterpret the sense of peace and quiet as being about isolation. This suggests to me that you haven’t spent very much time in Peavey Plaza. The Loring Greenway is often quite empty, and you can go there and not see anyone except the occasional passerby. In contrast, Peavey almost always has people hanging out in it, frequently has people walking through it, and always has a view of people on Nicollet Mall. The grade separation removes the noise of the excessive amount of cars downtown, and the genius of it is that it doesn’t discourage pedestrians. If you personally find sunken plazas distasteful, clearly Peavey isn’t for you. But that is no reason for the City to destroy it, and frankly it’s no reason to argue against it on a forum such as this, which would be like giving a bad Yelp review to an Ethiopian place because you don’t like spicy food.

            • Wayne December 15, 2014 at 8:52 am #

              My problem is that you seem to be taking what is essentially a matter of taste and turning it into some kind of “I’m right and you’re wrong” argument. I dislike the design and don’t think it works well. You like it and think it does. You are not objectively more correct, so you need to step back and realize that not everything is material for a paper in architecture class. People in the public have opinions and just because someone with a trained architectural eye thinks something is great doesn’t mean the people it’s actually (ostensibly) built for (the public) will like it.

              The fountains added a lot, but didn’t really do much for the way that the space that turns it back to the street on two sides. And I’ve spent plenty of time in and around the area and it most certainly *does* discourage pedestrians. I love urban places and spaces and I have rarely felt any compelling reason to go so far out of my way to venture into that pit. Just because it has some decent design elements once you descend into its depths doesn’t make it an inviting space from the outside.

              Just because some people use it doesn’t mean it’s great. It just means it’s in a busy area. Personally I think that an at-grade design would get far more use on a daily basis, but apparently we need to cater to the smaller number or architecture snobs and people with little other choice rather than the public at large. Which basically sums up one of my biggest problem with modernism in general.

              Honestly I’d love to have a debate about this, but you seem to be getting defensive and talking down to me like an MArch is required to have an opinion on an ugly old plaza that plenty of people don’t like. I don’t care what design elements it takes from Japanese ponds if it barely fulfills its function as a public space. If we use your analogy it’s like giving a bad review because I don’t like burnt food. I’m sure there’s a few people who think the charred nature give it a wonderful and unique flavor profile, but most people aren’t really that into it.

              • Alex December 15, 2014 at 9:43 am #

                No. I’m talking about the actual features of the space and how they contribute to the success of the space. You are the one who just keeps saying it’s ugly and that it’s not pedestrian friendly. Why is it ugly? How does it discourage pedestrian activity? You have not explained those two things. You have not contradicted the examples I’ve offered of how the plaza is inviting to pedestrians. You have not explained why you think an at-grade plaza would work better. I’ve tried to back up each of my opinions with reasoning that refers to the actual features of the plaza itself. I haven’t been able to find a single opinion of yours in which you relate to the actual plaza. You just keep repeating that Modernism is bad, Brutalism is bad, the Plaza is Modernist and Brutalist, therefore it must be bad. OK, fine, you don’t like the fact that it’s sunken. Why does that make the space less usable? Why does it make it aesthetically displeasing? Before hitting the submit button, please repeat to yourself, “I think ____ because _____.”

                • Wayne December 15, 2014 at 10:56 am #

                  “OK, fine, you don’t like the fact that it’s sunken. Why does that make the space less usable? Why does it make it aesthetically displeasing?”

                  The vertical circulation not only discourages anyone from passing through it, it makes getting to it from the Nicollet/12th street corner confusing and difficult. There’s basically a wall along the southern and western edges, with the access to and from the plaza difficult to visually identify because of the blocky modernist design elements. Is that block a planter or a retaining wall or are there stairs over there? Who knows! it looks like brown legos threw up and instead of following any potential desire lines you’re corralled into a few controlled access points that don’t relate well to the street. The northern end is mostly fine, but there are no ‘back sides’ to an urban plaza like this (except, of course, the side abutting orchestra hall). Except it’s designed like 12th street is it’s back side and screw you if you came from the south.

                  Maybe you don’t think circulation of people passing-through is important and prefer a quiet refuge. Great. You can still have that in a park/plaza that doesn’t actively impede desire lines. Being forced into limited access points is bad enough, but throwing in vertical circulation and you’ve all but guaranteed no one will cut through the plaza. It becomes a dead-end, not a pocket or refuge just off the beaten path. Just having circulation along the edges isn’t the same as having circulation through. It actively segregates itself from the sidewalks via grade changes and planters.

                  Also, seriously, what the hell are those pipes.

                  • Alex December 17, 2014 at 10:26 am #

                    Thanks, this is more productive. I agree that the impediments to cutting through are a weak point in the design, but this is less of a CPTED issue that it otherwise would be because sight lines are generally preserved thanks to the lower grade. This also helps the plaza feel integrated with the surrounding streets; my earliest memories of Peavey Plaza were of watching skaters as I walked by. I disagree, however, that there are “limited access points”; while of course the change in grade that allows for the waterfall reduces access points on the south side of the plaza, it’s still possible to enter along over half of the 12th street side and two-thirds of the Nicollet side. And to be clear, there are many brilliant public spaces that don’t allow you to just walk where ever you want. There can be a value in having a guided experience through a space.

                    The pipes were the fountain. Did you never see Peavey before Public Works neglected the fountain into failure?

                • Wayne December 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

                  Also, just to show I don’t hate *all* modernism, I think the Christian Science Center plaza (by I.M. Pei) in Boston is a fantastic space. It actually meets the streets and buildings around it and funnels pedestrians easily from the entry points and corners into it, but still has areas of refuge to hide away if you like. It’s probably too open for your preferences, but it works marvelously there. None of the planters or water features are so oppressive to obscure sight lines and it really compliments the area. It shields you from nearby (and busy) Huntington Ave by moving the pedestrian flow away from the street and into the plaza, rather than just trying to keep the pedestrians out. It’s a very different location and size, but some of the principles could have really helped Peavey Plaza.

                  Speaking of Boston, there’s a nice sunken water feature part of Copley Square that’s not unlike what Peavey used to have, only it’s tucked into the plaza in such a way that it doesn’t disrupt the flow of pedestrians. It’s the kind of ‘oasis just off the path’ that Peavey fails so miserably at being.

                  • Alex December 17, 2014 at 10:36 am #

                    I haven’t been to either of those places but from what I can see online the fountain at Copley Square doesn’t really remind me of Peavey. Can you elaborate on what you find similar?

                    The Christian Science Center does look appealing to me. I like open spaces too, actually, I just think that curated experiences can also be good. If you know Boston, I thought that the North End Park, while generally bland, did a good job of accommodating pass-through desire lines, while obviously limited by the gashes of roadways.

            • Adam Miller
              Adam Miller December 15, 2014 at 11:00 am #

              I typically walk by Peavey at least once a day and I’m having a hard time squaring my observations with your descriptions of the amount of use it gets.

              That is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone walk through it and while there is typically a person or two somewhere on its grounds, it’s rarely more than two or three. In fact, I recall being pleasantly surprised that there were several people actually making use of it on one of the nicer days this summer.

              Granted, I’m not typically over there during the lunch hour on weekdays, which has to be peak time, but nonetheless, mornings, evenings and weekends do not feature much use of the space in my regular observations.

              • Wayne December 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

                I was hesitant to bring that up since I’m not a downtown worker, but I also don’t recall ever seeing it busy outside of some planned event. For the kind of location it’s in it seems like it *should* be far busier most of the time.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller December 12, 2014 at 10:14 am #

      The little bit of sympathy I have for the “preservation” of the plaza is that it was a cool design at the time. It just doesn’t work anymore.

  5. Nicole December 12, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    I appreciate you gave an honest critique and didn’t just jump on the bashing bandwagon. It seems a lot of criticism stems from a severe dislike of change. However.

    How is it St Paul organized a European style Christmas fair this year without charging a fee? It was pretty busy, with lines for drinks (hot wine and beer) and people shopping. Perhaps because it was smaller?

    Maybe it would have worked better downtown to start smaller, with what they could afford within their budget, which includes $400K from the City Council, and grown each year. Yes, set up costs money. Perhaps use donation boxes like some of the local farmers markets have posted near their entrances?

    I’ve got a 2-year-old (and no desire to ever be at MOA) and will pay any mark up on a beer if it means there is a place where my kid can happily play that isn’t our living room. Especially in the winter months. I get it if everyone else would prefer us to stay home. But I got money to spend, which seems most important to the organizers. Instead we’ll pack up a coloring book and grab a beer at a tap room.

  6. Steven Prince December 12, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    “We have no shortage of family-first events.”

    A list please? With the exception of 4th of July fireworks, the Aquatennial parade and fireworks (all in July) I can’t think of any public events that are downtown and family friendly.

    Access to Peavy Plaza would work just fine without an admission gate and fence. Whoever organized this lives in the suburbs because they were thinking Minnesota Renaissance Fair (in Shakopee) not Uptown Art Fair. The venders would have much more success if anyone downtown could wander in and out.

    The observation about the lack of downtown public spaces is so right, although there are workable spaces for this scale event in Government Plaza, the Loring Greenway, and next to the Library. Once you move few more blocks off the mall their are plenty of potential locations near downtown, including Loring or Elliot Park and along the RIver.

    Is it still snark week? This post suggests it is if it wants to defend the decision to charge admission for a holiday market. Why not also suggests fences around farmers’ markets in the City, that should increase their popularity (but you only have to pay once a season!).

  7. Joe December 12, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    I see Snark Week has rubbed off on the writers here at Streets.mn

    • Wayne December 12, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

      I get the distinct impression they just want to talk amongst themselves in the comments and not actually have anyone else say anything.

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller December 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

        I’m sorry you feel that way. I can’t speak for anyone else (I’m not on a first name basis with any of them really either, and believe the only other writer I met I’ve not seen since high school), but I certainly don’t feel this way. I also would not have connected Alex to that Greenway article.

        I’d encourage you to speak your mind.

        Maybe it’s hypocritical of me to say having written an intentionally snarky post, but it might be a good time for a reminder for everyone that a civil tone is important to encouraging the broadest set of participants we can gather. We can disagree politely.

        Well, except Bill. He can go jump off a bridge (I can’t help myself).

  8. Alex Schieferdecker
    Alex Schieferdecker December 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    I haven’t been, although I do plan to go. I have fond memories of traveling in Scandinavia and browsing the Christmas markets in the cities I passed through.

    On the surface, I’m not a fan of the $6 entry fee. While I understand why it was levied, I’m not sure it’s a great idea to add an additional barrier to entry when you’re trying to get people to try something new. Additionally, people’s expectations are certainly higher when they’ve paid for entry, versus when they’ve just walked in. I imagine that the kvetching would’ve been quite a bit less if there was no fee, perhaps just a recommended donation.

    Peavey Plaza is definitely another part of the problem, but as you point out, it’s hard to imagine a more suitable space. The Yard would be ideal as a space, but in the wrong part of town. A surface parking lot would cost a good deal of money.

    Either way, it’s good to hear from someone who does like it, given the bad press. I think everyone can agree that there have been some errors made in execution and communication, but hopefully there’s enough to redeem the project and keep moving forward on it.

  9. Monica Millsap Rasmussen
    Monica Rasmussen December 13, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Completely agree with this post! Thank you, Adam for a great counter to the critcism the market has gotten.

  10. David Markle
    David Markle December 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Peavey Plaza aside, the iconic Christmas market takes place in Nuernberg (Germany), the Christkindlesmarkt.

  11. Xref December 15, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    St Paul’s Christmas Market was better.

  12. Eric December 15, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    “I’d say I’m sorry that there isn’t enough here for your kids, but I’m not really. We have no shortage of family-first events. It’s okay to have adult-first ones too.”

    Fine, but they NAMED IT after and marketed it as a replacement for a kid-friendly event that’s been happening for over 20 years! So the expectation of a family atmosphere was not entirely misplaced. Imagine if the St. Paul market had been called the “St. Paul Winter Carnival.”

  13. CK December 16, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    An important missing piece of the conversation is that the MPLS City Council provided $395,000.00 in public money for the market.
    http://www.journalmpls.com/news/city-hall-update/city-council-approves-new-funding-plan-for-holiday-winter-market

    That is equal to 65,583.3 paid admissions. It’s hard for someone like me who lives within walking distance to the market to stomach paying twice. Maybe we should have a variable fee that is lower or eliminated for mpls taxpayers.
    My guess is that the fee is more about keeping “riff raff” out of the market.
    That being said . . . On the other hand . . .
    The event is also very family friendly from what I have seen. Last saturday I walked through and saw a sled dog demonstration, reindeer, a theatrical version of velveteen rabbit performed by children, and a bunch of kids having a great time playing on historic plaza. Families with children were everywhere. Maybe that is where the public funding comes in because this was all free of charge.

    All in all this event seems like a success it has been very busy, and festive, the many times I have passed by. The fee is a little annoying but I plan on going back when I have more time and paying the admission to descend into the shopping village.

    • Nicole December 16, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

      EXACTLY! I’ve paid my entrance fee in that sense. And I agree the fee was probably to keep out riff raff, but it sounds a bit more PC to say they needed to pay the Vancouver-based firm that designed the event (I think a Star Trib article explained that). It makes me wonder if this is repeated next year, will they still have a fee? The marketing firm has been paid off.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller December 17, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Someone like you who lives within walking distance (like me too) doesn’t have to pay twice. You, like everyone else, pay once.

    • Cedar December 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      Yes! I have a real problem with the admission fee, given that the city has shelled out so much in public dollars to fund this market. I feel like the fee is there to keep out poor people, and I just can’t stomach that.

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