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Christmas City Village opens

The Christmas City kicks it up a notch at yuletide with a Christmas City Village, which transforms the historic downtown area of Bethlehem into an authentic German Weihnachtsmarkt, or open-air Christmas market.

Twenty charming, holiday-themed wooden huts chock full of unique holiday gift ideas are at the hub of the festive event, presented by Downtown Bethlehem Association, creating a scene that mirrors a Hallmark Christmas movie. All the huts are adorned with Moravian stars.

This year features brand-new, redesigned huts that allow customers to shop inside, plus more huts and more vendors.

Melissa Morales, owner/operator of Melmo’s Dog Treats, is thrilled with the new huts.

“They are so well built and sturdy, and there is no leakage or wind issues,” she said.

Morales placed long and short shelves inside to display her merchandise and is happy with that design.

“You get to create and put your own little stamp on it,” she added.

Melmo’s has items for dogs and cats, including clothing, toys and treats. The dog treats are also now available at Giant Food Stores.

Lindsey Sell, with Lindsey Sell Creations, started making her handmade jewelry seven years ago in her dorm room at Bloomsburg University.

“I used the money to help pay for school and textbooks,” she said. “This is a stress relief after working as an autistic support teacher.”

Sell, who lives in Kutztown, grew up in a small-business family - Crystal Spring Farm in Schnecksville - so selling her handmade jewelry came naturally to her.

“I loved growing up in a small-business family,” she said. “I credit the farm for helping me with interacting with people and giving me my love for small business.”

The holiday huts are located on Main Street outside of Central Moravian Church and the Hotel Bethlehem Conference Center; the 1750 Smithy within the Colonial Industrial Quarter; and one on Broad Street.

In addition to finding Christmas treasures at unique vendors, visitors can stroll the downtown draped in its Christmas finery and visit charming retail shops, gourmet restaurants and historic Moravian museums.

The merry event runs 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24. On Christmas Eve, the shops close 4 p.m.

PRESS PHOTOS BY TAMI QUIGLEY Melissa Morales, owner/operator of Melmo's Dog Treats, at right, chats with Nancy and Ed Dewarf, of Warrington, Bucks County, as they purchase cat treats Nov. 19 at the Christmas City Village.
Horse-drawn carriage rides add to the quaint charm of the Christmas City Village on Main Street in Bethlehem.
Vendors in the huts at the 1750 Smithy festively display their wares, while shoppers hunt for treasurers.