The annual Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market is a Houston tradition as immortal as the opening strings in Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet — and like the guests who fill the stage for the party scene that sets the stage for one of the world’s most beloved stories, the market takes over NRG Center with a crush of revelers, looking for one-of-a-kind gifts and treats to augment the holiday season.
Yet even as the Nutcracker Market heralds the arrival of winter — or the Bayou City’s approximation it — the market’s organizers have an answer for those who find themselves too impatient to wait for the November event: get ready for the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market Spring Spectacular.
Launching April 12 – 14 at NRG Center, the shopping weekend extravaganza boasts 150 merchants, 50 of whom are making their Houston market debut, all featuring an array of seasonal gifts, attire, jewelry, home goods, and goodies.
“We have considered the idea of a spring event for several years, given the incredible enthusiasm for our holiday themed Nutcracker Market,” said Patsy Chapman, CEO of the Houston Ballet Nutcracker Market. “It’s truly exciting to be able to offer all the best elements of Nutcracker Market, but with an entirely different array of merchandise full of the bright colors and bloom of spring and then on to the celebrations and carefree days of summer.”
Like Nutcracker Market, Spring Spectacular will serve as a fundraiser allowing shoppers to give back to the Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and scholarship programs. Eleven percent of all merchandise sales, plus proceeds from admission tickets, supports the Houston Ballet’s various programs.
Funds from the 2018 Nutcracker Market exposed almost 61,354 Houston-area students to ballet through the academy’s education and community engagement programs, and $506,980 was awarded to 129 students to study dance at Houston Ballet Academy. Students from 261 Houston-area schools got their first opportunity to see ballet and hear from dancers through free programming, performances and classes at Houston Ballet’s prestigious Center for Dance.
Shoppers at the Spring Spectacular can expect items such as pepper mills in fun shapes; colorful, handmade straw tote bags; gourmet foods for summer menus; floral décor; baseball-themed memorabilia; and clothing and accessories to refresh outgoing winter wardrobes. Regulars to Nutcracker Market will find familiar favorite vendors such as The Round Top Collection and The Royal Standard, who will bring a fresh selection of products to fit the spring theme.
The Spring Spectacular hours are Friday, April 12, from 10 am to 8 pm; Saturday, April 13, from 10 am to 6 pm; and Sunday, April 14 from 10 am to 5 pm. Tickets go on sale with Ticketmaster on March 1 and are $13 each. Beginning March 11, $13 tickets are available at all Houston-area Randalls locations. Door admission tickets cost $15 and are available at the NRG Center’s Nutcracker Market ticket windows (cash only). Children under 5 get in free.
Early Bird and group sale general admission tickets can be purchased now by calling 713-535-3231. Groups of 20 or more will receive a $2 discount off regular admission price. Early Bird tickets are $30 each and are good for repeat admission all three days, and offer early admission beginning at 8:30 am on Friday.