By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Today was the first day of business for the holiday market in Market Square.

The Pittsburgh-area Slovak ensemble literally kicked off the first day of the new holiday market, with a performance.

The market brings a new European tradition to market square in downtown Pittsburgh.

KDKA’s Jon Burnett and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s son Cooper officially welcomed the crowd to the holiday market.

“It’s designed to continue the momentum of Light Up Night that we created at the Pittsburgh downtown partnership to bring more people to bring more tourists to create unique visitor experiences that only be found here in downtown Pittsburgh,” Ida D’errico with Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership said.

There’s plenty to see and lots of unique items to buy — 17 vendors are selling holiday gifts imported to Pittsburgh from all over the world.

“We have beautiful ornaments from Czech, Slovakia, Poland,” vendor Pat Palko said. “They’re all handmade, hand painted glass ornaments — good prices beautiful handiwork on them.”

Visitors can also experience the PPG ice skating rink nearby and every child can spend some time with Santa in his new house.

“Make sure you go to bed early on Christmas Eve,” Santa told one child.

“This is beautiful,” Rose Marie Quinn of Leesburg, VA said. “It gives you an old world feeling festivities and old Christmas like it used to be years ago, like it should be.”

The holiday market was a big hit today with the Bauer family who came in from Butler.

“I think it’s a great place to come with the family,” Kelly Bauer said. “Lot of activities and exciting things to do.”

“It’s just fun to seeing all these themes it fun to see Santa,” Brooke Bauer said. “It’s a good family thing.”

The holiday market appears to off to a good start, it will be open until Dec. 23 and the goal is to attract more than 500,000 people here to Downtown Pittsburgh.

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