A Christmas fair began to work in St. Petersburg. This year it takes place in three locations – Manezhnaya, Konyushennaya and Palace Squares. The theme of the fair, like last year, was the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”. For the first time, QR codes were installed for visitors, which lead to the scenes of Tchaikovsky’s ballet.

In October, Governor Alexander Beglov promised to cancel some festive events: a concert on Palace Square and Nevsky Prospekt, fireworks and a charity reception at the Tauride Palace. Saved money Smolny plans send for uniforms mobilized for the war in Ukraine.

Among the events that we decided to leave to Petersburgers is the already traditional Christmas Fair. By counting “Paper”the city authorities spent more than 100 million rubles on its organization, which is twice as much as in 2021.

“Paper” tells what to see at the Christmas market and how its design has changed since last year.

The “mouse” concept of the fair appeared back in 2019. On the eve of the Year of the Rat, themed holiday decorations for Manezhnaya Square created based on sketches by the artist Alina Korytova. The creators of the design of the fair earlier spokethat they were not inspired by a specific work, but the townspeople themselves began to associate it with the Nutcracker. Starting from 2021, the organizers began to make the Christmas Fair based on the Hoffmann’s fairy tale.

This year the fair has official site, which contains basic information and a visual style guide. According to one of the creators of the brand book of the fair, designer Dmitry Terekhov, the task of the specialists was to connect the fairy tale about the Nutcracker with St. Petersburg. The point of contact was the Tchaikovsky ballet.

brand designer, one of the creators of the brand book of the Christmas Fair

— The concept is implemented in accordance with the plot and attributes of a fairy tale, but is also intertwined with the chronology of the ballet (but only in the first act). This applies only to the fair on Manezhnaya, while the locations on Palace and Konyushennaya were designed in a context with a common style, but more abstractly, without reference to The Nutcracker.

With last year, the difference should be noticeable in detail – a brand book has been created for the fair with its own identity, characters, colors, fonts. The corporate identity has been transferred to real objects – all the houses of the residents have changed color and design, all the main objects are new, designed in a single style of drawing and color scheme.

The lighting has been reworked, it has become warmer and more uniform throughout the fair, the number of conifers has been increased (natural conifers can be found in some residents). In general, the same principle is used everywhere – the context of the architectural illumination of houses, the care in natural shades, the contrast in the design is reduced for a more comfortable atmosphere in the evening.

This year, the objects of the fair on Manezhnaya Square were equipped with QR codes linked to stories about scenes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker.

one of the creators of the Christmas market brand book

— It was decided to focus on the development of the action of the ballet, provide some of the objects of the fair with related information and test how much the townspeople would be interested in the conceptual part of the design, and not just the entertainment part.

This year the Christmas market takes place on three squares. The main part spreads around Manezhnaya. So, on Malaya Sadovaya Street, a castle was installed with the heroes of the fairy tale “The Nutcracker” – Franz and Marie. Next, there are trade pavilions stylized as winter houses, where they sell Christmas tree decorations, soft toys, ceramics, merch of the SKA hockey club, candies, “Yamal fish”, honey, cheeses and even pickles.

On Manezhnaya Square itself, the Clock photo zone and the Train attraction were again laid out, as well as a craft house with master classes for children and a stage for performances with figures of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. In the center of the square, a large Christmas tree, decorated after a fairy tale, was placed.

On Klenovaya Street there is a two-story carousel that moves to the music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, and a free skating rink. This year it has also spread to the entire Manezhnaya Square.

Dozens of people lined up for the rides on the opening day of the fair. Meanwhile, the organizers failed to clean up the area, as a result, visitors constantly slipped and stepped into piles of collected snow. One of the puddles formed right at the entrance to the fair.

On the second location – Konyushennaya Square – the creators of the Christmas Fair have placed a second skating rink, where they promise to hold ice shows. Entrance there paid.

The last location – on Palace Square – was opened for the first time. A slide for riding “cheesecakes” and food trucks were installed on the territory fenced with a fence.

– Palace in this format appears for the first time. There is a more chamber concept, [которая сделана так, чтобы оформление] didn’t argue with the Christmas tree on the square, and at night everything looked organically, like an ensemble,” explains brand designer Dmitry Terekhov.

Citizens have been complaining for many years about the old holiday decorations in the center of St. Petersburg, many of which did not fit together, and some burned out during the New Year holidays.

In November 2021, Smolny released a brand book for a unified design of St. Petersburg for the New Year. Brand designer Dmitry Terekhov also participated in its creation. According to him, the new design of the Christmas Fair meets all the recommendations of the city’s brand book.

brand designer, one of the creators of the brand book of the Christmas Fair

– Last year, the city brand book was presented for review and more as an informational occasion. Today, having explored the central highways of the city in the Central and Admiralteisky districts, I personally saw more than 90% of establishments and shops that use natural colors, needles and other pleasant ornamental plants in their design, which cannot but rejoice. In general, the cycle of adopting a brand book into a more or less full-fledged turnover of use is three years with proper support. I hope that next year we will see even more needles on the streets, decorated balconies and shop windows.

The designer also claims that in the coming years the concept of the New Year’s decoration of the city should change: “These are all things that are designed for a cycle of two or three years due to the peculiarities of storing decorations and objects on the balance of the city,” he explains.

The Christmas Fair in St. Petersburg will last until January 9, 2023. It works every day from 12.00 to 19.00. The only exception will be on January 1 – after New Year’s Eve, the fair will open at 14.00.