this spring, Houston Ballet will launch its warm-weather counterpart to the famous Nutcracker Market. Dubbed the Spring Spectacular, the inaugural seasonal market will bring more than 150 merchants to the NRG Center from April 12-14.
Nutcracker Market CEO Pasty Chapman said the Ballet has considered hosting a spring event for several years "given the incredible enthusiasm" for the holiday 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,” she added.
In April, merchants from across the country will sell seasonal items, apparel, jewelry, food, home décor, and more. The Round Top Collection, a Texas-based home and garden décor business that's been vending its primarily metal products at the Nutcracker Market since 1992, will have a presence at the Spring Spectacular. In fact, founder Jeff Krause was one of the people to suggest it.
“I said, 'Houston has such a good spring season, so let’s do something that showcases how wonderful spring is in Houston,'” Krause said. He expects Round Top's "Celebrate Every Day" collection, with its interchangeable, seasonal pieces on products like napkin holders or lanterns, to be a popular at the seasonal affair.
About 30 merchants will be newcomers to the market, including Houston-based Cin Chili & Company, which sells chili seasoning, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce and recently debuted "Pickle Sips"—bottled sweet or dill pickle juice. Cindy Reed Wilkins and her husband, Bruce, started Cin Chili in 2005 after Cindy won multiple chili competitions, including back-to-back wins at the Terlingua International Chili Championship in 1992 and 1993.
“I said to my husband that we should really do something with the recipe, so we packaged it,” Reed Wilkins said. “It was a hobby, and now it’s our business. We feel like we’re living the dream.”
Another market newbie is Atelier Aliénor, an online business that sells espadrilles. The footwear originated in France and Spain, and all of the shoes sold by Atelier Aliénor are made in France. Laurie Cazaux opened up shop in 2017 after moving to Houston from Paris.
“I thought espadrilles were going to be a good product for Houston because, in the south of France, you can wear them all year-round, and the weather is also really good here,” Cazaux said.
Cazaux will bring her new collection of lavender- and olive-colored espadrilles to the Spring Spectacular along with other styles.
Eleven percent of merchandise sales from the Spring Spectacular and proceeds from admission tickets will be donated to the Houston Ballet Foundation, its Academy and scholarship programs. The 2018 Nutcracker Market brought in more than 113,000 customers who spent $20.6 million.
Spring Spectacular organizers hope to see 30,000 people over the course of this three-day market. Houston Methodist will provide charging stations in the lobby, and parents can check strollers at the market's entrance for free.
“Houston is such a friendly place, and the market is another way for Houston to gather and have a big party,” Krause said. “The Nutcracker Market is so much fun, with the way people come and tailgate with mimosas. I’m hoping the spring show continues that excitement.”
The Spring Spectacular runs Friday, April 12–Sunday, April 14 at NRG. Tickets start at $13.