Smaller, more expensive and less bright: the starting signal for the “blue light blaze”

Smaller, more expensive and less illuminated: Visitors to the Blauer Lichterglanz Christmas market have to be prepared for some changes after the corona-related cancellations in 2020 and 2021. That said the organizer of Brandenburg’s largest Christmas market, Eberhard Heieck.

The market on Brandenburger Strasse will be officially opened on Monday (November 21). This is planned at 4 p.m. on Luisenplatz in the presence of Mayor Mike Schubert (SPD) and together with the traditional giant stollen. Overall, the market is slightly smaller with around 140 stands: Compared to 2019, there are 20 fewer stands, according to Heieck.

The largest market in Brandenburg

The reasons are different, ranging from business closures in the wake of the pandemic to personnel problems. This applies, for example, to a supplier of spices and candles, which are not represented on Brandenburger Strasse this year. But new dealers are there, for example with wooden jewelry and ceramics. According to Heieck, it will remain the largest market in the state of Brandenburg. “Here you can find everything your heart desires,” says the advertisement for the “Blue Light Shine”, which also announces handmade Schwipp Arches from the Ore Mountains, leather goods and handicrafts.

An innovation compared to 2019 is a uniform cup system. Heieck’s company Coex, which also organizes folk festivals elsewhere in Germany, had the cups produced especially for the Blue Light Shine. The unbreakable cups with a blaze of light logo for a deposit of two euros would be issued and taken back at all mulled wine stands, said Heieck. The advantage: visitors do not have to stop at a stand until they have finished drinking. However, restaurateurs could continue to offer their own cups, it said.

New prices.  Mulled wine costs an average of 50 cents more than in previous years.
New prices. Mulled wine costs an average of 50 cents more than in previous years.
© Sebastian Gabsch

Four euros for a mulled wine

In general, Christmas market visitors have to plan higher expenses. The mulled wine should be more expensive this year. According to Heieck, the price will level off at around four euros – that’s about 50 cents more than in the past. However, an accurate assessment of how expensive mulled wine will be across the board is difficult, since each stand operator sets the price himself. The rental prices for the booths had not been increased, said Heieck. These start at 650 euros for a hut, with surcharges and additional costs depending on the goods. It is still unclear what dealers would ultimately have to pay for the electricity from the municipal utility, it said.

We want to present a bit of a homely atmosphere.

Eberhard Heieck, organizer of the Christmas market

The rising prices are not the only innovation in the wake of the energy crisis. This also saves more electricity, as Heieck explained. Energy-saving mulled wine instantaneous water heaters are available at many stands – but not everywhere. The market for these devices, which are now coveted nationwide, has almost been bought empty. For the lighting, his company Coex has completely switched to energy-saving one-watt LEDs. “We want to create a bit of a homely atmosphere,” says the organizer, who hopes that the investment will pay for itself in a few years.

There will be fewer stalls on the market in 2022 than before.
There will be fewer stalls on the market in 2022 than before.
© Sebastian Gabsch

The lights are on two hours less per day

However, the little lights will shine two hours less per day – they will come on an hour later than usual at 4 p.m. and will be switched off around 10 p.m. instead of at 11 p.m. as in previous years. The side streets also remain unlit this time, with the illumination concentrating on Brandenburger and Friedrich-Ebert-Straße.

The market runs until December 29th, with the Christmas lights staying on into January. There will be no corona requirements such as masks, 3G or 2G rules this winter – not even at the fairy tale stage on Luisenplatz, which is played daily from 5 p.m. Actors from the Piraten-Open-Air-Theater in Grevesmühlen have been announced as actors.

We’ve stretched the stalls a bit, straightened out the market a bit.

Götz Friederich, head of the working group downtown

In addition to Luisenplatz and Brandenburger Straße, this time the market will be located on the northern Bassinplatz – parallel to the weekly market there. There is also the popular Ferris wheel. Heieck said there was also a desire from retailers in the adjacent Dutch Quarter to create this connection. On the other hand, there are no stands in the area of ​​Brandenburger Strasse that is currently being renovated. Two shopping Sundays are planned in the shops around the market, on November 27th and December 11th.

Despite its modest dimensions, the
Despite its modest dimensions, the “Blaue Lichterglanz” is an important sales market for dealers.
© Sebastian Gabsch

100,000 potential customers

The chairman of the AG Downtown, the lobby for tradespeople in the city center, Götz Friederich, is in a positive mood for the five and a half week Christmas market on Brandenburger Strasse. “We stretched the stalls a bit, straightened out the market a bit,” said the AG boss. According to Friederich, the relocation of the Ferris wheel to the northern part of the Bassinplatz has already been praised. “In this way we also tie this part of the center to the Christmas market.”

Although the blue lights have been thinned out a bit, according to Friederich, the market is still important for the retailers in the center: “100,000 visitors are also 100,000 potential customers,” says Friederich. A Christmas market on the Alter Markt could therefore at best be an addition.

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