The warm temperatures this past weekend may have been out of place for December, but there definitely was a feeling of Christmas in the air in downtown Belleville.
Residents and visitors alike packed the sidewalks. The wait to ride the holiday trolley was 40 minutes at one point on Saturday afternoon. The German-style Christkindlmarkt was booming, and so were the restaurants and shops along Main Street.
It’s hard to believe now that some store owners opposed the Christmas market. They worried that the market would siphon away sales from their year-round businesses, but instead it has brought new customers to them – shoppers who never would have given Belleville consideration were they not drawn to town by the market. We point this out not as an I-told-you-so, but to emphasize the importance of trying new things to market the city.
There are still more shopping days to go before Christmas, but it’s not too soon to declare Christkindlmarkt 2014 a rousing success. The market was designed to help close out the city’s 200th anniversary celebration, but we want to see it become a regular part of Christmases yet to come.