PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Market Square, in Downtown Pittsburgh, will be transformed into a 16th-century European marketplace, on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.

KDKA-TV and other area businesses have teamed up to create the “People’s Gas Holiday Market.”

KDKA’s Rick Dayton and Jennifer Antkowiak announced the plans Thursday morning at the PPG Wintergarden. Alpine-style chalets will sell hand-crafted gift items from the old country.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hopes the mix of entertainment and craft items will draw upwards of 800,000 visitors.

“We will have vendors selling wares from around the world for 30 days,” says PDP president Jeremy Waldrup. “We’re going to have an awesome community stage for performances from folks around the region. It’s going to be a great holiday destination for families from around the Pittsburgh area.”

The perimeter of Market Square will be lined with more than a dozen colorful chalets, with traditional offerings ranging from Austrian Nativity scenes to Faberge egg pendants from Russia.

Pat Palko’s hand-painted ornaments from Europe are each one of a kind. She says the holiday market is a boost for businesses like hers.

“They’re actually works of art. And so it’s a great place to market them,” she says. “And Pittsburgh’s a good ethnic area.”

Meanwhile, from Downtown to Castle Shannon at the Carpenter’s Connection, “elves” are busy constructing Santa’s Pittsburgh home away from home.

The Santa house will join more than a dozen of those Alpine-style chalets at the holiday market, which opens Nov. 24 in Market Square.

“This looks just like my house at the North Pole,” says Santa enters the wood-frame structure. “How did they know?”

At 576-square feet, kids will have plenty of space to wait their turn to have their pictures taken as they sit on Santa’s lap.

Terry Oden designed the Santa house for Desmone Associates, Architects, which donated many hours to the project.

“Our idea is to make the building as fanciful as it can be,” Oden says. “This is a place that really should be reaching the hearts of not only the children, but all of the people of Pittsburgh here.”

How will they find a truck big enough to transport the entire house? The fact is – they don’t have to. The building breaks neatly into 60 separate segments. After Christmas, it will be stored away until next year.

“People are going to bring their children here,” Santa exclaims. “Their children are going to bring their children here. This is going to be around for generations and generations to come.”

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