Annual Advent Market and Nutcracker Village promote Christmas cheer


This November and December, the Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market are bringing Christmas spirit to downtown Steubenville. While the sky may be gray, the Fort Steuben Park is aglow with Christmas lights and decorated with 6-foot nutcrackers, which greet hundreds of visitors every week.

The market started in 2015 when Jerry Barilla and Mark Nelson came up with the idea to build giant nutcrackers in order to generate more business revenue in the town of Steubenville. Three years later, there are now over 150 giant nutcrackers displayed in the Fort Steuben Park next to historic Fort Steuben. With hundreds of lights, nights during late November though early January are full of laughter, cheer and, of course, Christmas spirit.

The 6-foot nutcrackers line the sidewalk, leading visitors to the Advent Market, a small area of shops surrounding a giant 30-foot Christmas tree. Covered in lights, the glow illuminates the tiny stalls selling popcorn, homemade ornaments and tasty treats for customers to enjoy as they peruse the shops and admire the nutcrackers that decorate the park.

Some nutcrackers are even located off site, whether on Fourth Street, in front of the Courthouse or at Jefferson County Historical Museum, encouraging visitors to go on a fun scavenger hunt around downtown Steubenville.

Visitors especially enjoyed the atmosphere of the Nutcracker Village. “It was authentic, and the people were very friendly, especially at the booths,” said sophomore Veronica Lam.

“The lights were so beautiful, and the nutcrackers were really funny and really awesome to look at,” said sophomore Sara Moceri. “It was just a very magical night.”

Adding to her friend’s comment, sophomore Jessica Resuta said that “the whole atmosphere (was) not only magical but just very joyful: just the friendliness of everyone’s faces, and the music playing. It just was so cold, but it was so joyful.”

The Nutcracker Village is open now through Jan. 5, 24 hours a day. However, the Advent Market is only open weekends: Fridays from 3-8 p.m., Saturdays from 1-8 p.m. and Sundays from 1-6 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Advent Market will open early to coincide with the annual Steubenville Christmas parade.

Students are encouraged to get off campus and visit the Nutcracker Village and Advent Market because, as freshman Kellyann McConnell said, “It brings the light of Christmas to Steubenville.”

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