DETROIT (WWJ) – Longtime residents of Southeast Michigan treasure childhood memories of Detroit as a shopping destination during the winter holidays. Glittering buildings, busy sidewalks, brisk air, dazzling gift displays and decadent treats were highlights of a bustling Christmas season in the city.

This weekend, the city’s central plaza Campus Martius Park, home of Detroit’s official Christmas tree and popular ice-skating rink, will debut Christmas WonderFest, a highly anticipated indoor-outdoor festival and return to the legacy of Detroit Christmas past.

WonderFest, modeled upon traditional European Christmas markets, will kick off the holiday season in grand style during two of the highest traffic periods annually in downtown Detroit — beginning with the ceremonial holiday season tree-lighting event on Friday and continuing through America’s Thanksgiving Day parade weekend, ending Sunday, Nov. 27.

Highlights of Christmas WonderFest will include an International Marketplace featuring gifts and goods from countries across the globe, a local showcase and gallery featuring work from the region’s finest artists, and a Motor City Marketplace, offering merchandise and memorabilia from Detroit’s most beloved landmarks and cultural institutions — all under a huge decorated tent with 50 stores.

The festival will also offer carousel and ferris wheel spins, and an opportunity to meet and have family photographs taken with Santa Claus.

After all the shopping works your appetite up, you can enjoy seasonal foods including candies, baked goods, roasted chestnuts, kettle corn, sausages and more or visit the Haufbrau Haus tent for 1,600 feet of real German Octoberfest fun, authentic beers and treats.

Christmas WonderFest hours:

  • Friday, Nov. 18: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 19: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 20 through Wednesday, Nov. 23: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 24: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 25: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 26: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 27: 12 p.m. –  8 p.m.

For more information, visit

Comments (2)
  1. Bob Humbug says:

    Its not even Thanksgiving and already the retailers are saturating the consumer with Christmas commercials. And I recall the Christmas stock going out just after Halloween. Pretty soon Labor Day will start the Yule Tide and then Fourth of July will be showing Santa tanning in Florida and eventually you will be putting the Valentine gift under the tree.

    Lets have Christmas all year long and save on decorations.

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