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Kielce Christmas market, Source: Kielce City Hall

Forced to cancel its Christmas market, a Polish city moves it online

Forced to cancel its Christmas market, a Polish city moves it online

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year Kielce will have a virtual Christmas Market

Just like many other cities in Europe, Kielce decided to play it safe by cancelling the physical Christmas market, traditionally held on the central market square. Nevertheless, the city authorities were perfectly aware that after several months of decreased economic activity, they need to help small shops, craftsmen and local producers, who strongly rely on the last weeks of December to boost their annual turnover.

The solution? This year Kielce will be taking its Christmas market to the online space.

Keeping the Christmas spirit high, despite the health crisis

Shopping, Christmas carol contest with prizes and more – this will be part of the atmosphere in the first-ever virtual Christmas market in Kielce. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, the Polish city will be inviting its 195 thousand inhabitants and tourists to a different and safer experience, which they will be able to enjoy from the comfort of their homes between 6 and 24 December.

In order to make this virtual Christmas market possible, Kielce launched a platform for the promotion of exhibitors’ websites and their products in virtual houses, similar to the covered wooden stands we know from Christmas fairs. After clicking on the house, the potential customer will be redirected to the exhibitor's webpage, where they will be able to discover their offerings and make purchases. For their part, entrepreneurs can register before 3 December and reserve an online spot for the fair.

Apart from shopping, the real Christmas spirit will be maintained by a carolling contest. To participate, citizens are encouraged to pre-record themselves singing a Christmas carol which will be played on the virtual stage, in front of all visitors to the online fair. The highest-rated performances will be awarded, while the artistic setting of the event will be provided by Kielce cultural institutions.

The organisers will also provide some surprises with video games and other contests, which will be unveiled in the upcoming days. Regardless of our place of residence, examples like this one serve to remind us how important it is to shop local and support small businesses in our cities and regions and help them get through this extraordinarily challenging period.

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