Wellington Polish Christmas Market

After spending many nights last year worrying that nobody would come to the new Wellington Polish Christmas Market, this year’s challenge is to expand the market so that more people can visit in greater comfort whilst adding as much European atmosphere as possible. We’re extending the Christmas Market hours – it will run between 11am and 8pm – 50% longer than last year, and the City Council just granted us permission to use part of Rhodes St for the market.

The street space immediately next to the Dom Polski will serve as a town square. With an outdoor stage and sound system generously provided by the council, this year’s market will feature seasonal and folkloric music and dance performances from a range of artists. So far we have Polish entertainer Artur Gotz, who is in New Zealand en route to PolArt, Magda Sinoff, our very own Koledzy, Lublin Dance Company, Orlęta Polish Dance Ensemble, St Mary of the Angels’ children’s choir, Young Angel Voices, and reflecting the rich diversity of Poland’s rich culture, the band Klezmer Rebs will treat us to a performance featuring Chanukah music. The artistic programme is developing, so expect to see more artists on the day.

The new configuration allows us to provide seating space for an additional 128 diners inside the Dom Polski and outdoors. Our dance groups will sell hot Polish food in the hall and from an outdoor kitchen on our “Rynek Glówny” to help raise funds for PolArt. We also plan to run a bar in both those lo cations, selling Polish beers and the mulled wine which is so much a part of the European Christmas market tradition. The library will become a cukiernia selling tea, coffee, baked goods and sweets.

With over 30 stalls already registered, and space for another 30, most of which will be located in marquees just up the street from the Dom Polski, we have a gorgeous range of stalls ready for you.

Of course, Christmas is not just food, drink and shopping. Last year’s market was plastic bag free. This year we are following that up with a zero waste target so that the planet doesn’t end up paying for our event.

This year’s szopka competition is off to a good start. With one workshop already held and another scheduled for Saturday 27 October, we’re well on the way to having a charming range of entries this year.

We will again collect Christmas gifts for St Vincent de Paul to distribute to disadvantaged children. Let’s beat last year’s 63 gift record.

We hear that Mikołaj will visit us. Of course he speaks Polish and English, so all children can visit him for a pre-Christmas chat (and their families can take pictures without having to pay for expensive department store photographers).

Helena Fagan