HOUSTON - It's been a long-running holiday tradition for many Houston shoppers but this year the Nutcracker Market experience will be different. It will be virtual.
So many Nutcracker Market lovers seem to have the same reaction ‘Oh no I can't meet up there with loved ones' followed by ‘Oh my this year I can shop the event as much as I want online'. “It seems like right now that's all everybody's doing is shopping online anyway. So I'll probably be more successful and have the time to look at everything I want to look at,” says Babbette Clingan.
Because of the pandemic, the Nutcracker Market will be held virtually this year giving some their first shot at experiencing what others have loved for decades. “Just so much traffic and I never could get through and I was like forget this. So I'm really excited because this will be my first time going,” Clingan explains.
"It's always something that I look forward to during the holidays,” says Karen Jones.
The virtual market will run November 11 to December 11 and opening day will cost $30 and will actually be a special early bird day. “A lot of our merchants will be offering special deals that day that they won't be offering the rest of the time. They might be doing some giveaways,” explains Nutcracker Market CEO Patsy Chapman. The rest of the virtual market will be free.
Many who meet up with friends and family at Nutcracker Market say they will still gather for the shopping experience in cyberspace this year. "I'm a big shopping online kind of person. So it's probably kind of pretty dangerous for people like me. I'm looking forward to it. I think it's a great idea. I can do it from the comfort of my own home,” Jones laughs.
More than 200 vendors will be showcased. "This is their livelihood. Some of these events carry them for months and months. So I'm so thankful to hear it'll be online. I think this will be a great experience,” says Julia Hogan-McNeil.
“Our vendors have the capability on this platform to put up as many pictures, videos, demos as they want. it's a very interactive and fun experience,” Chapman adds. 11% of the proceeds from the Nutcracker Market go to the Houston Ballet. Several shoppers say they hope the virtual market will actually continue long after the pandemic ends.