Nutcracker Market going all virtual this year

HOUSTON – The Nutcracker Market will be going all virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Wednesday.

“Despite our best efforts, there simply was not a feasible way to host a safe event at the level that our merchants and shoppers expect and deserve,” said Patsy Chapman, CEO of Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. “While we remained hopeful for our event to continue as planned, this is the best decision for the health and safety of everyone involved."

The market, which is the largest single fundraiser for the Houston Ballet, will be extended to a monthlong event for online shopping. More than 200 merchants have signed up to participate in the virtual event that will run from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11. Early-bird access is available for $30 on Nov. 11. Afterward, the market will be available at no cost to all shoppers through Dec. 11.

More information can be found at

The holiday tradition was set to open its 40th year at NRG Center on Nov. 11.

More than 107,000 shopped at the market last year, spending more than $20.4 million. About $5.4 million was raised for the Houston Ballet.

Since 1981, the event has raised more than $74.2 million for the Houston Ballet.

“We would make a whole day of it brunch and dinner afterward. It was a great day and the market itself is just phenomenal,” said Nutcracker shopper, Mary Beth Wegner.

“We are so sad that they canceled it. We are just ready. Let’s just go out and start doing normal things again,” said Nutcracker shopper, Stick DeLaup.

A spring version of the Nutcracker Market was launched in 2019. It was moved online this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Different vendors like China Baroque in Memorial City and One Hip Mom in the Spring-Cypress area are worried.

“It’s definitely a financial blow for sure. You just have to do what you can and hope that next year is just so much better,” said Christie Gunter, owner of China Baroque.

“It was a heartbreaker because when it was canceled in the spring we never in a million years did we dream it could also happen in the fall. What we’re going to miss the most is seeing some of the people we have seen for the last 21 years, year after year, and getting to hug them and touch them and see them,” said Vicki Robinson, owner of One Hip Mom Boutique.

Once the Nutcracker online goes live, customers will be able to look at a map of the floor plan just like you were shopping at the physical event.

Customers will also be able to chat and post online about their favorite vendors.

KPRC2 Amy Davis is talking about the Nutcracker Market after news today that the annual holiday event will be all virtual this year. Read more:

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Wednesday, September 16, 2020