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Christmas markets are back at the historic Union Depot in St. Paul this year, including Minnesota's only European Christmas Market that runs for four weekends. 

The holiday season starts with the MN Christmas Market, a pop-up holiday shopping event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the aforementioned Union Depot on Saturday, Nov. 6. 

The market showcases homegrown brands and makers while benefitting charity — all vendors donate 7% of sales from the event to The Reel Hope Project, a nonprofit that makes videos of kids in foster care to help get them adopted. The $1 entry fee to get into the market also goes to the nonprofit. 

MN Christmas Market has three other locations this year

  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 13 in Rochester
  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Quincy Hall in Northeast Minneapolis on Nov. 14
  • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov. 27 in Duluth

Then, later this month, the Union Depot will play host to Minnesota's only European Christmas Market that's open for four straight weekends. 

The free outdoor event returns to in-person this year after going virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The market is modeled after the open-air Christkindl markets in Germany, Austria and other European countries during the Advent season. 

The festivities kick off on Black Friday, Nov. 26, and run on the weekends until Sunday, Dec. 19, featuring shopping from local crafters; European-inspired food; mulled wine; German beer; and plenty of family friendly entertainment.

The Pioneer Press says there will be about 40 vendors spread out in a larger area than in 2019 so people feel more comfortable amid the pandemic. There are two warming tents and outdoor firepits for those who need to warm up. 

The first market was held in St. Paul in 2014, growing from a three-day event with 12 vendors to a nine-day event with nearly 50 vendors and more than 65,000 visitors, the market's website says.

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