The 36th annual Nutcracker Market opens in Houston

HOUSTON - The holidays are right around the corner, and that means the Nutcracker Market is officially in session!

"This is the 36th Annual Nutcracker Market," the Nutcracker Market Chairman Mary Alice Parmet said. "It benefits the Houston Ballet. It is, as you can see, a shopping extravaganza!"

"And it's great to see all the people and all the excitement," one volunteered said.

"We actually started as a church bazaar, and it's just grown and grown until it's basically totally filled," Parmet said. "We have merchants that are on the waiting list trying to get in."

But those that are here have everything from gourmet exotic foods to fun and festive holiday decorations— and a little bit of everything else in between.

"We have 283 merchants. They're from 32 different states from 172 different cities," Parmet said.

"Yes, we've gotta a great peach cobbler right here," one of the merchants showed off to passersby. "Ladies, it's almost Thanksgiving here."

And those who sampled the fare were ecstatic over it. "It's delicious! Oh, it's delicious," a pair of samplers said.

Parmet shared why shopping at the market is so important to her.

"The Nutcracker Market benefits the local Houston community," she said. She remarked that proceeds benefit the Houston Ballet and also "all the revenue from ticket sales," she said.

"All the people really want to help me," resident elf Ronald Wop said. "They really appreciate me, and they thank me for coming cause it puts them in the Christmas spirit."

"Come on out to the Nutcracker!" a volunteer ticket-taker said. "You'll be amazed at all of the things that are going on here. I'd love to see you. Ciao!"