Manchester and Birmingham Christmas Markets confirmed to go ahead this year
Ho-ho-how good is this?
Mancunians and tourists from all over the world missed out on classic German bratwursts, Bavarian beer, mugs of Glühwein and heaps of other global food and drink offerings when the markets were cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
Likewise, fans of all-things festive were left similarly short-changed when Birmingham's German Christmas Markets - otherwise known as Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham - decided not to go ahead either.
However, with vaccination numbers growing by the day - over 81.4 per cent of over 16s now double-dosed - and most businesses back open, the legendary markets are returning after a statement by local councillor, Pat Karney.
Speaking on BBC Radio Manchester, Karney announced that "Christmas is not cancelled" and that the markets would return this year, albeit with levels of "crowd control".
He went on to say: "We're delighted we can go ahead with this. Tens of thousands of jobs for people depend on Christmas trade. We've all been in lockdown mode for so long and we all ache to get together with friends and family so we're doing everything possible to keep people safe and we're keeping it under review."
Many punters are still uncertain whether they would return given the sheer size of the crowds and especially after the government's recently announced Covid winter plan, but the fact that the majority of the more-than-a-month-long event takes place outdoors means it's still been given the go-ahead.
Moreover, doubts were still looming given the fact that Manchester's Albert Square (the market's main hub) remains closed as the Town Hall continues to undergo refurbishment - the project could now take until May 2024.
Nevertheless, things appear to be on track for the six other locations across the city's market trail, including Piccadilly Gardens, which will be turned into a "magical winter wonderland" according to the MEN.
Most importantly, the famous Father Christmas - who is usually situated in Albert Square - will be making an appearance in the city's St. Peter's Square this year.
Meanwhile, Birmingham's German Christmas Markets will start even earlier - opening their doors in early November for what they promise will be a "festive extravaganza", according to Birmingham Mail. Taking over the Victoria Square and New Street area of the city from November and 4 to December 23, this Christmas staple is the "largest authentic German Christmas market outside Germany or Austria".
2021's Manchester Christmas Markets will be running from November 12 to December 22. If you've never been to either of these spots, get yourself there: they're world-famous for a reason, you know.
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