The magical Christmas Fair in Hellbrunn
A dark night fell upon the castle, but the courtyard is loud of laughter, chit-chat, giggling. Christmas trees decorated with large red orbs have gathered in the square standing tightly together. I sneak a peek behind the trees and I see people standing at barrels serving as tables, warming themselves with mulled wine. The Christmas tree standing at the top of the stairs leading to the entrance of the castle is contemplating the merry fellowship. Mouthwatering smells are filling the air from the wooden houses surrounding the square.
Their customers are enjoying delicious sausages and warm drinks. Unphased by the buying mood of their parents, children pull them towards the courtyard filled with playgrounds. We follow them, but we get distracted by mischievous laughter coming from the path between the two courtyards. On the lake near the path a black Krampus is starring at by-passers from his boat ready to clamber up the rope tying it to the bridge. His fellows´ faces alongshore are lit up in red by a woodpile imitating a campfire. On the other side of the path hideous Krampus heads put in show-cases are staring at brave visitors who are taking pictures with their friends sat on the bench across the way. The place loses its scary mood when we catch Santa Claus smiling in a cottage in the company of other Krampuses. In the back of the lake a white angel is waving good-bye as we approach the exit. Entering the courtyard with the playground we see children waving from the little train taking them on tours in Santa´s Wonderland.
We imagine for a moment how much fun it would be to get on the train but given its size we abandon the idea simpering and just glare at the little pounding train passing by the cuddy, the does, reindeer and Santa Claus.
After the train trip is over, the little ones are relentlessly running to the little houses specially built for them.
From the cages settled in the middle of the playground, the cuddies and grass munching bunnies are watching them indifferently. Only a little lamb looks like enjoying the caressing of hands.
The men of Dionysus near the Trick Fountains enviously acknowledge that the Christmas tree and the lakes illuminated by light effects steal the attention. In the summer they look down at visitors like superstars set on a podium whereas now their glory is fading in the darkness.
The selfie-king of the trees is the giant tree decorated with huge red globes at the entrance of the park.
Both children and adults are queuing, waiting to take a picture with it and though their hands and noses are red of cold, everybody is waiting politely and patiently for their turn. We decide to warm up in the coffee shop of the castle with a hot drink.
The voucher that comes together with the entrance ticket is valid only for the drinks served at the little stalls on the square, but free drink or not, the warmth inside the coffee shop is priceless. The hot cocoa and tea are filling us with energy and we set out to continue our tour.
We reach the brightest part of the fair where the artisans are selling ornaments and gifts from their adorned wooden houses. Red, white and blue orbs, silver and golden stars and angels, Santa Claus in all sizes, wooden carved Christmas trees decorated with orbs are all on display.
Wooden carved lanterns, lampions, hanging decorations illustrating biblical motifs are offered by Tischleratelier Gradl.
Candles and honey are offered by Imkerhof Salzburg and their heart-shaped gingerbread is so cute that we decide to take one for our family at home.
K&K Schilder has an amazing booth full of handmade plates with royal (K. u K. - Imperial and Royal) coat-of-arms.
Mr. Winckel amazes us with his beautiful glass etching skills. His work is so remarkable that it attracts many curious eyes who stare at his hands; he´s been practicing for more than 25 years.
The booth offering chocolates spits is tempting us to enlarge our collection gathered on the eve of Santa Claus, but we resist the allure and focus on the many other baubles. We manage to find some beautiful decorations to offer as gift at home and as the closing time approaches, we head towards the exit. We pass once more through the fair admiring all the shiny decorations, the Christmas tree gathering in the square, the colorfully lit park, and inhale the holiday atmosphere. Joy fills our heart and gratefulness to those who built up this magical place and brought the spirit of the holidays to us.
22 November – 24 December Monday – Friday: 13:00 – 20:00; Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 – 20:00
On the 24th of December: 10:00 – 14:00
Entrance Fee: Monday – Friday: Free Entrance;
Saturday and Sunday: 5 EUR (including a voucher for a drink – mulled wine or punch)
Address: Schloss Hellbrunn, Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg