In its 38th year, more than 113,290 shoppers made their way to NRG Center for the 2018 Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market, marking the highest recorded attendance to date. With merchandise sales close to $20.6 million, and 11 percent of those proceeds benefiting the Houston Ballet Foundation, it was another huge and successful year for the Market.
The four-day holiday shopping extravaganza kicked off on Wednesday, November 7 with the highly anticipated Wells Fargo Preview Party. Doors opened to the public on Thursday, November 8 and closed on Sunday, November 11, 2018. This year’s Market, chaired by longtime Houston Ballet Guild and Nutcracker Market Committee member Wendy Wilkins Burks, was themed “Cruising into Christmas.”
Throughout the Market, a series of special events were held in addition to the Wells Fargo Preview Party, including the Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Show and Luncheon and the Macy’s Fashion Show and Luncheon. This year’s event welcomed more than 270 merchants from across the U.S., with 27 new merchants making their grand debut. New merchandise included men’s apparel, handy compact fishing poles, culinary and specialty gourmet food items, classy tech accessories, vintage clothing, unique bohemian jewelry inspired by the National Parks, baking and serving options for elegant and casual entertaining and more.
Spotted were large groups of shoppers donning matching holiday-themed outfits as they perused the more than 540,000 square feet of holiday décor, gourmet food, toys, apparel, novelty items, accessories, gifts and more. Shoppers also enjoyed food and drinks as they shopped, including the signature mimosa served in a special Nutcracker Market cup.
The Nutcracker Market continues to provide support for the Houston Ballet, its Academy and scholarship programs. Since its inception in 1981, the Nutcracker Market has raised more than $68.5 million for the Houston Ballet Foundation.