Starting Friday, Nov. 24, the sixth annual Cambria Christmas Market will brilliantly illuminate a section of Lodge Hill with what market coordinator George Marschall defines as “more lights than ever, very close to 2 million” of the holiday bulbs.
The monthlong series of outdoor evening events will be open most days from Nov. 24 to Dec. 23, but is closed Nov. 27 and 28, and Dec. 4, 5 and 11.
For the schedule, market details and to buy tickets (which range in price from $5 to $20, depending on the night), http://cambriachristmasmarket.com.
Vendor booths interwoven into the display that rambles around the Cambria Pines Lodge grounds at 2905 Burton Drive will showcase artisan products and traditional German foods. Traditional German hot, spiced wine (Glühwein) will be served in the newly tented Biergarten.
The festive holiday decor continues at the neighboring Cambria Nursery and Florist, 2801 Eton Road, where seasonal items are offered for sale.
Downtown Cambria areas also are decked out for the season, especially for the upcoming Hospitality Night on Thursday, Dec. 7.
Christmas Market parking and traffic control have been knotty issues since the seasonal German-European-style venue was launched in 2012.
The five-year permit to operate that the market received from the county last year included four pages of conditions and two pages of findings, requirements designed to make various situations easier on attendees, while still considering the needs of hotel guests and neighbors.
Signs directing people to parking areas and the market will be prominently displayed again this year.
Onsite parking is strictly reserved for hotel guests and vehicles displaying handicapped stickers or plates.
Market attendees are not allowed to park onsite, along Burton Drive or in neighboring residential areas, but must instead park at:
▪ Coast Union High School, 2950 Santa Rosa Creek Road
▪ The new Cambria Grammar School, 3223 Main St., or
▪ The former Brambles restaurant, 4005 Burton Drive, near the Burton Drive bridge at the foot of the hill.
Attendees are then shuttled to the marketplace through 8 p.m., with the final shuttle of the night leaving the lodge at 9:15 p.m.
For further instructions, market details and to buy market and VIP parking tickets, go to http://cambriachristmasmarket.com.
The market was the brainchild of lodge owner Dirk Winter.
Marschall gives the credit for the beauty and precision of the display to his “great staff of wonderful people. … They’re crucial, wonderful and they’ve done a fabulous job.” He estimated that a team of 20 employees set up the elaborate exhibit, with “upwards of 60 people to run the market,” and at least 15 more at the nursery.
The trademark display at the market is the tunnel of lights, an arched rainbow of Christmas bulbs through which attendees walk. It may well be the most photographed feature of the event.
Perhaps giving the tunnel a run for its attention this year is the Ice Princess panorama, which “is bigger and better than ever,” Marschall said.
Other new features at this year’s show, he said, include a new fantasy mushroom display, some elephantine wooly mammoths, a spaceship (which may look familiar to Scarecrow Festival attendees), and “a tremendous amount of architectural art displays.”
Another addition is the entertainment-and-eating tent area, Marschall said, a covered space in which people sit, order and enjoy foods and beverages from the market, which will be brought to them by wait staffers.
Also, the experience has been improved with “a lot more infrastructure,” he said, including “better pathways.”
It all comes together to provide a stroll through the sights and sounds of the season, providing a family-friendly way to launch the holidays and make special memories.